India was One by An Indian

Upon reading the title, India was One, I automatically thought the book was about Indian Independence and Partition which took place in 1947. Was I in for a surprise!

This is Jai and Kaahi’s story; a lovely combination of friendship, love and change.

It begins with Jai looking through a pair of binoculars and finding Kaahi doing the same from the other side of India. And the chapter stops there.

The following chapters are a run down to the first chapter . We are shown how Jai meets Kaahi and are intoduced to Jai’s friends.

The first half of the book flows nicely with no dramas or tragedies and we get to experience the food, the festivities and a game of cricket, which is explained in detail.

In fact, a lot of Indian terms, languages, customs and religious and non religious festivities are explained in detail. For the readers who already know all this, it can be a chore to read but for those who don’t know, it is a real treat.

Explaining it all gives you a deeper understanding of the author’s story as it is read on. The author has written the explanations in the story, not within the story, which I would have preferred. There was a lot of telling and not showing. Writing in this way, interrupts the reading as I found.
Even so,  I was still intrigued and wanted to find out how Jai reached the point of looking through the binoculars.

One of the things I loved about reading this interesting book was that the author takes us on a travel tour to Rajasthan – India, the US and Europe. We see fabulous descriptions of the US and how it differs from India, how non-resident Indians (NRIs) find India and have adapted to living in a country which was alien to them at first.

When Jai takes Kaahi to Europe on a holiday, we don’t see the main holiday destinations but the off road little towns and cities which we don’t normally see. It was a delight to read!

This was all in the first half of the book. The second half was very different and quite shocking too.

Jai and Kaahi come back from Europe refreshed and then bad news hit them! A news flash – there is civil unrest in India! What does this mean? Without giving to much away, I will just say that India wasn’t One anymore. A felt a lump in my throat when Kaahi had to leave Jai at the airport, both going back to India but to different locations. We are thrown in turmoil as we see the state of India and it’s people and we want to see Jai and Kaahi back together.

Everything happens but at a price and we see happiness clouded by a death – a friend who gave for his country. I was devastated when this happened as I had grown to love this character (as with all the other characters).

India was One is a book to read. It is interesting and intriguing, yet original and different!

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2 thoughts on “India was One by An Indian

  1. Hi Malika,
    I also reviewed India was one on request of the author and liked your review. I wonder whether you would review my novel, which is a collection of interrelated short stories about Adrienne, an immigrant and a woman who comes of age in the late sixties in The Netherlands and later emigrates to Canada for love. I would be interested to read your views.
    I would do the same of your book, if you like and would provide the E book manuscript to you for free as a PDF document. I like the aspect of being a foreigner or immigrant transplanted in a different culture.

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