Sunday, January 31, 2010

2 States - The Story of My Marriage

                                   Author: Chetan Bhagat
Published: 2009
Publisher: Rupa & Co.

A Punjabi boy and a Tamilian girl, both MBAs from IIM-Ahmedabad fall in love and get married. This is all as far as the story line is concerned.
But the way they go about convincing each other's parents who are initially opposed to their love and also how they make their respective extended families to like one another is described in a very humorous manner.
Chetan Bhagat takes dig at both Punjabi and Tamilian communities (apologizing for this beforehand in the preface of this book), which hopefully will not offend them. One should have a good sense of humor to laugh at themselves.
As a Tamilian who grew up in North India, I had the chance of observing both the communities at very close quarters. And I would say that the portrayal of stereotypes from these communities is very realistic.
Chetan Bhagat indicates in the preface that the story is inspired by his own family and experiences, though it should be seen as a fiction. Like the protagonist Krish, who is the narrator of the story, Chetan Bhagat is an IIT-D/IIM-A product who worked in a multinational bank; has a passion for writing; married to his MBA classmate , who is a Tamilian; and a father of twin boys.
This is one of the hilarious books which I have ever read in recent times. I laughed my way through it.
Strongly recommend for a light and enjoyable reading.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stephen Hawking - A Life in Science

Authors: Michael White, John Gribbin
Published: 1992
Publisher: Penguin
Amazon Link: Click Here

A biography of Stephen Hawking, the world renowned theoretical physicist. This 1992 edition which I borrowed from British Library covers the first fifty years of his life. I understand that there is an updated edition published in early 2000's, which I hope covers Hawking's post-1992 life.
The book starts with Hawking's birth in 1942 (exactly 300 years after Galileo, another great astronomer died) and with his divorce. It covers - Hawking's schooling, academic career, his contracting ALS disease which made him invalid and confined him to wheel chair, publishing of his bestseller 'A Brief History in Time'. The book also attempts to explain Hawking's theory on beginning of the universe and the black holes in layman terms, though not very successfully. Interesting anecdotes from Hawking's life are interspersed throughout the book. For e.g. an interesting piece of information from the perspective of Indians is - Jayant Narlikar, the famous astrophysicist shared the same office room with Hawking in Cambridge University.
The book is a light read and is adequate for getting some basic information about Hawking and his work. But it lacks soul and a gripping narration. Probably there are better biographies on Hawking been published, I am not sure though.