I have to admit that if I was in a bookshop I would have walked straight past this book. So, when I was given the opportunity to read it, I checked out a few reviews on it and, although a little apprehensive, decided, well, why not. I thought: what do I really know about India other than the Taj Mahal, Bollywood, Imran Khan and a cracking good Vindaloo on a Friday night? Well, alright, not that little - but my point is, I don't know much. The reviews seemed to suggest that there would be something to learn from the book. My apprehension was happily misplaced. The first chapter - more of a prologue - drew me in straightaway. Whilst the novel is fictional, the story of boy-meets-girl-marries-girl (Jai and Kaahi) is interwoven with a treasure trove of facts about India - sometimes in the characters' conversations, sometimes as explanatory paragraphs. The author's uncomplicated style never makes the latter heavy-reading. The facts that are interspersed in the conversations do make the dialogue a little strange at times, especially between the two main characters - it's sometimes hard to believe that two people in love would actually talk like reference books - but you become so engrossed in the information you overlook this. Even the references to cricket (which to my mind is marginally more exciting than watching paint dry) are interesting.
If you separate the story from the factual content, you are left with a rather unsubstantial, rather frail boy-meets-girl tale, which would not stand alone. If you separate the factual content from the story, you have an ordinary, but easy-to-read guide book that could sit happily next to a Lonely Planet guide. Put them together you have a unique, enjoyable book that has you caring deeply about Jai and Kaahi's life and future and the opportunity to learn more about the richness of India's tapestry of culture, language, food, costume, religion, customs and geography. The author has now managed to put India on my bucket list of places to visit. I wish all my geography books had been written like this - I might have learnt more.
…Suddenly, he saw something shiny at the bottom of the abyss. He squinted his eyes to see what it was. He ran back to his binoculars and turned them to see what it was. Sharp barbed wires that separated the two mountains came into focus. He had come as far as he could in his country. But she was standing in another country.
He was in South India and she was in North India…
Have you ever imagined India being divided into two countries? What happens to the millions of Indians who are from South India but are now residing in North India? Kaahi & Jai were two such people who got trapped in this situation. Everything was going smoothly for them and suddenly, their world turned upside down.
How will they get together? Will India become one again?
Take an exciting journey with them from their college days in Mumbai to their life in the US and back to India when they find out that India is divided.