Their Pride and Prejudices:
This is an abstract about the short description of Indian literature and Indian writing in English. India’s culture is as like as the Indian feast. There is an underlying line of principle i.e. Unity in diversity, it is the biggest mantra that makes India flourishing its age old customs and conventions for centuries together. The system followed by the people may be sometimes rigid and touch but it lead to strengthen the practices for the better prospects of the next generations. It is not out of question to discuss the multicultural nature of Indian tradition many a times at different stages with different definitions. As far as my idea, which I want to throw light on the select novel, is concerned, I limit myself here in this chapter to the novel written by Chetan Bhagat titled 2 States. My observations on the protagonist of the novel and his companion lead to a keen observation on two things. One is on the culture of North and the rest is the South. These two are well represented by the novelist excellently portraying two major characters. One represents The South Indian Tamil and the other North Indian Delhi. These two principal characters move throughout the novel throwing light on the cultural differences between these two cultures of the same nation. Now and then, the novelist glanced into the characters to discuss these differences in the form of a debate introducing some minor characters.
Keywords: Culture, Traditions, Dress, Clothing, North India, South India.
Though an Individual is the smallest part of the community and culture, the family is the most meaningful social and cultural unit. Bhagat chooses two families from two different cultures: ‘ Tamil’ and ‘Punjabi’. The characters from the later are seen fun-loving as compared to the characters from the former with the exception of Krish and Ananya. They are altogether radical (See; 5.6 for more details). Tamil Brahmins (Ananya’s family) love classical Carnatic music while Punjabis (Krish’s relatives) enjoy Bhangra in the novel.
Their Pride and Prejudices:
Both admire their own culture and blame another’s. Both look down upon each other for different reasons. Both enjoy each other’s food, praising. They have no problem with different places, but people from these places. Both hate each other for the reasons unknown. Sometimes may be like their older generation hate each other so they still maintain the same habit of not trusting: South Indian to North Indian and vice versa. They never accept each other without prejudices and find reasons to blame always.
They have diversities in their languages (e.g. Tamil and Punjabi), customs, and rituals (e.g.description of Punjabi marriage rituals in Duke and Minti’s marriage and Tamil marriage rituals in Krish and Ananya marriage), cuisines (e.g. rasam, dal, roti, idly, rise, chicken, dairy products, sweets, paneer, rasgullas, biscuits, pao-bhaji, etc.), attire (e.g. shorts, track suits, suits, coats, dhoti, crisp white shirt, kanjiwaram sari, salwar kameej, etc.), occupations, interests, comforts, motives, etc. and they turn boon and boom every other time for the protagonists.
Where ever the novelist wanted to discuss the multicultural nature of these two characters, he takes a new thing. Like at the beginning, he insisted the dressing difference i.e. Chudidar of North India and Half Sari of South India. “I turned to look at her. I was seeing her after two months. She wore a cream coloured cotton sari with a thin gold border. She seemed prettier than I last saw her” (P: 91). The characters stress on the importance of these two and confines strictly to themselves that their argument is correct. When the Protagonist observes the South Indian man in the picture that’s Ananya’s father he portrays like:
I looked carefully. A middle aged man with neatly Combed hair rationed his gin. He wore a half sleeve shirt with a dhoti in most of the pictures. He looked like the neighbor who stops you from playing loud music. No, nothing cute about him. I scanned the remaining pictures taken on festivals,weddings and birthdays. (P: 13)
The protagonist would like to describe and narrate his mother’s dress etiquette representing the North Indian style, ornaments, clothing and culture. He himself introspects his mothers’ dress attire by imagining his close companion that is Ananya and her mother. When Krishna, the protagonist meets his mother at the railway station, he finds her with a complete pattern of North Indian style from top to toe.
After receiving their parents, both of them, Krish and Ananya wanted to convey the fact they were in love and they would like to get marry. Both are worried to convey this to their parents. So they thought to convey it after the convocation. They planned to arrange an introductory session with both the families. At the time of convocation, Krish’s mom and Ananya’s parents arrived. Hence, the protagonist narrates the dress appearance of them. “My mother takes forever to put on her sari. I came first to get good seat. Ananya wore the same peacock blue sari that that she wore to her HCL interview.”(P: 45)
After the convocation during the discussions, Krish tried to convey their love matter to his mother. He wanted to say her gradually by conveying Ananya as her best friend. He was known that her mother would be reluctant to that upon that she was furious to discuss and wanted to show some girl’s photos to set a match with krish.
She shows some photos at that situation, Krish narrates her mother’s dressing style:
Open this album.See the girl dancing in the baraath next to the horse. She is wearing a pink lehnga I saw a girl in pink Leanga her face bearly visible under a lot of hair (P: 57)
After conveying his m other Krish decides to join in Citi Bank first and then convincing of his mother later after the settlement of his love and marriage. He wanted to get familiar with Ananya’s parents for that purpose he takes up his job in Chennai where he can mingle with Ananya’s family and make use of the time for convincing them for their marriage. He takes appointment and joins in Citi bank and takes an apartment with co-employees. At that time he observes the way of dressing and casual wear of Tamilians and narrates in this way:
I nodded and reached my apartment. Ramanujan (his roommate) saw me place? he the bottles in the fridge. What’s that, he wore a Lungi and nothing on the top apart from a white thread on his shoulder? (P: 100)
The Protagonist faces a lot of problems after coming to Chennai with the ambience and language food habits but apart from all these Krish focuses on Ananya’s family so as to familiarize with them and get good name from them so as to become their son-in-law. He here and then meets Ananya and enjoys the romantic life with her. So he feels happy with that but in the meanwhile he is furious to observe that there is a match who comes to Ananya where her parents insist to make her sit and see the groom before checking the horoscope. Krish gets worried and annoyed with this. At the moment he goes to Ananya’s house to give tuition to Ananya’s brother Manju and observes Ananya and finds she is neatly dressed her up for the occasion. I, that situation he comments, “Why are you wearing this stunning sari?” (P: 125).
After the familiarization with the Ananya’s family with the help of tuitions to Manju, that is Ananya’s brother gradually Ananya’s father becomes close to Krish. It has been slowly recognized by Krish and he feels happy and conveys the same to Ananya too. During the times Ananya’s father and Krish meet together and like to talk each other about the Bank issues as they both are related to the sane profession. Sometimes, Krish and Ananya’s father meet and eat together. Once Krish and Ananya Plan to go Pondichery a long drive to Ananya’s office. There they want to talk to the office authorities. Now the author Chethan Bhagath showS how the youth like to go faraway places on bike drive with the example of these two lovers Krish and Ananya. Ananya herself covers her head and face and sits behind Krish on a two wheeler. At that time Krish narrates her dressing, “Ananya sat pillion in a maroon salwaz kameez,using her white, dupatta to cover her head and face. She looked like a member of Veeerappan gang” (P:159).
Chetan Bhagat has some affinity with numbers! All his books till date like Five Point Someone, One Night @ the Call Center and The 3 Mistakes of My Life along with 2 States have a number in them. When asked about it Chetan humorously said, “I'm a banker, I can't get numbers out of my head”! Also his characters have names that are all avatars of the Hindu deity Vishnu like Govind, Harish, Shyam and here, Krish.
Bhagat depicts complex, deeply rooted socio-cultural problems of multicultural India, light-heartedly. He wants readers to laugh at themselves, at their follies, their prejudices, and their wrong-doings; not as a participant but as a distant observer. He doesn’t attack them directly, but through fiction he attempts to realize their faults and gives a chance to correct in the real life. Bhagat’s involving story telling technique and the humorous situations allure readers.
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2. Emeneau, M. B. India as a Linguistic Area. Language. 1956, Vol. 32: 1. Pp. 3-16.
3. Jadhav, Arvind. “Representing Metropolitan Youth Culture: An Assessment of Chetan
Bhagat’s Five Point Someone and One Night @ the Call Center”. The Criterion: An International Journal in English. June, 2012. Vol. 2: 2. Pp. 1-5.
4. Pawling, Christopher. (ed.). Popular Fiction and Social Change. London: Macmillan
5. Singh, Renu and Shikha. “Multicultural Context of Chetan Bhagat’s ‘2 States: The Story of My Marriage”. Language in India. March, 2013. Vol. 13: 3. Pp. 347-359.