Monday, July 01, 2013

Review- Complete/ Convenient by Ketan Bhagat

Goodreads Summary:

How is life outside India? Like they show in ‘Karan Johar’ type of Bollywood movies!

How is life in India? Like they show in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ type of Hollywood movies! 

Have you ever wondered why NRIs long for India? Sitting on their pile of dollars, freedom, cleanliness and convenience, they often talk about the land full of scams, jams, crowds and corruption. 

Just like a real life is full of fantasy dreams, can a fantasy life be full of ‘reality’ dreams? 

What is it about an Indian life that fascinates those living outside it… even those who voluntarily left it themselves? 

Welcome to the world of Kabir, a twenty-something software sales professional aspiring to relocate overseas. Charming, humorous, street smart and interesting, Kabir is a typical boy who loves life. The kind of boy usually Ranbir Kapoor plays in movies. Living in Mumbai with his best friend, who is his complete opposite and a walking-talking ‘excel sheet’, and in regular touch with his forthright girlfriend and family in Delhi, Kabir’s life is full on. 

Elated on being transferred to Australia, Kabir quickly gets married and hops onto the next flight to Sydney. Dazzled by the glamorous free-spirited Aussie world, the newly-married honeymooning couple soon find themselves living a life beyond their rosiest imaginations. A quick professional success acts as a further icing on the cake. 

But as time flies and the humdrum of married and professional life take over, realizations of loneliness and helplessness underlying an envious NRI life begin to surface. Worst come, the relationships left behind are beginning to wither. As his best friend and family battle through unexpected crisis and Kabir himself gets embroiled in professional challenges, balancing between the two worlds – Australia and India – becomes a stressful lone battle. 

Based on emotions that every NRI and people related to NRI go through, “Complete / Convenient” sensitively journeys through characters and situations that the author, like every NRI, personally experienced during his stint out of India (including four years in Sydney).


REVIEW:

*NOTE: We (The Readdicts) received a copy of Complete/ Convenient by author Ketan Bhagat from Srishti Publishers & Distributors in exchange for an honest review. We thank the publishing house for the book! 

I must admit that I started out this book keeping in mind that it is written by the Indian author whose books are national bestsellers in India and whose books I truly enjoy reading and am a huge fan of, Chetan Bhagat's younger brother. I then realised how wrong I was in comparing the two, how unjust and unfair it would be to the book and soon after that realisation hit me, I started reading Complete/ Convenient as a book written by Ketan Bhagat. I was lucky enough to meet the author at his book launch in my city and while reading the book, I felt appreciative towards him and listening to him talk about himself and his book made me understand it better. 
Complete/ Convenient isn't exactly a story but more of a fictionalisation of author Ketan Bhagat's life experiences, a simple rendition of an Indian man who, in the end of the day, is a son, brother and husband. It's the tale of Kabir Kapoor, who is thrilled by an opportunity to work in Australia. A quick, exciting and extremely boisterous follow up of events like his marriage with the love of his life Myra, his abrupt goodbye to his family and friends later, he finds himself in love once again- this time with the beautiful continent and country of Australia. From there begins Kabir's true life, full of fun and boredom, ups and downs, positives and negatives, good and bad and ultimately, along the journey, he faces the one realisation that is more of a life-changing phenomenon and I loved Kabir's choice in the matter. 
I don't have many names on my Indian book boyfriends list, but I can surely say that Kabir has made it to the list. He was such a great guy- sweet, funny, loving, caring and kind. Obviously he had his own set of difficulties, problems, flaws and imperfections, but they all made him seem more real and true. I wasn't always very fond of his wife Myra's nature but they say that people are what they are because of something that has happened to them and Myra's past, in one line, did nothing but justify her being. Together, Myra and Kabir made for a lovely couple and I loved seeing the two go through everything they went through. Seeing Kabir go through his "peak" phase was emotional. I loved how references were made to Bollywood news, movies and gossip as well as other little daily things that happens around us. What I loved seeing most, however, was Australia, it's lifestyle and ways, from both Myra and Kabir's points of views. 
On the family front, while both families were huge, Myra's was more calm and poised and Kabir's was loud and cheerful. There were plenty more characters in the book as well, each of which seems so normal and an Indian will surely find someone or the other they can relate to. Like any typical Indian scenario, putting lots of people in the same place only brightens it more and that's exactly what happened in  Complete/ Convenient as well. 
Author Ketan Bhagat himself has stated that he has written this book only to bring forward a message that all of us know, but not all of us see and that his writing isn't all that great. I agree with the author but I must say that it is quite decent and the way in which the book has been written doesn't bore the reader at all. Ketan Bhagat has a superb sense of humour and it showed in his book as well. Complete/ Convenient keeps you entertained, constantly thinking about certain things and gives you a message that isn't at all imposing but just practical and worth knowing and sharing.  It is an highly enjoyable read that made me laugh out loud at numerous times. There is so much of authenticity and reality in this book that it's alright to give imagination a break and just live the book and I did just that. 
You know you've read a good book when you carry it mentally with you all the time. I found myself staring out at many people, couples especially (sorry for the awkwardness said people!), when I went outside and thinking in my head if, at a personal front, in any way, they are going through the same situations as Myra and Kabir are.  
All in all, I really liked and enjoyed Complete/ Convenient. I'm definitely going to read all of Ketan Bhagat's books from now on. He, both as an author and as a person, has acquired a huge fan in me. My rating is somewhere between 3.5 to 3.75, which I'm rounding up to a solid 4 owls. Yes, I liked this book and if my super lengthy review wasn't enough then let me say (this is the last bit, I promise) that I would highly recommend it. 

RATING:




6 comments:

  1. Considering how many series from India my mother watches I know nothing about the country. I'm ashamed. I haven't heard of this author nor his brother but it sounds really good! I'm glad you enjoyed! :) Great review girl :)

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    1. Don't be ashamed. I'm telling you, come here for sometime and read my shelf, that should do. :P Thank you, Tanja!

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  2. Oh, I remember this book! I didn't knew it was about NRI's and homesickness. I guess a lot of people could relate to it, myself included :) I'm glad that you ended up loving it. Fabulous review, Sarika!

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    1. Aw, then you'll definitely like this one, Aman. I didn't know you'd relate to it, but I hope you can read it soon. Thank you! :)

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  3. Nice review S, I loved the length because you covered everything... I am with you on this. I am too going to read all of KB's book from now on.

    XX
    Happy Reading
    Ankita

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    1. Yes, and we'll buddy read them all as well. Thank you, A! :)

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