Living away from home

Published: 02nd July 2013 09:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd July 2013 09:44 AM   |  A+A-


Have you ever heard of any NRI who: Hasn't washed dishes and vacuumed carpets; Hasn't missed any of his friends/ family members wedding in India; Doesn't watch Indian movies, no matter how long he has been outside India; Hasn't been to a striptease; Doesn't indulge in Indian food whenever he visits India on a vacation? Do you know any Indian who hasn't thought of moving out of India for a better, safer life...........Hasn't wondered what makes NRIs return to India. This is how the book goes into intimate details of an NRI couple and tells their story when they are torn asunder by family attachments, professional problems, lifestyle and cultural differences.

Ketan Bhagat's Complete Convenient is nothing new as it is a tale that has been told and retold in India through different formats : books, TV serials and films. Unfolding with the story of Kabir and Myra who get married and relocate to Sydney, the book tamely climaxes with their return to their motherland. The author does a comparative study of their life in Australia and India, holding the reader's attention but one gets the feeling that the plot and storyline are repetitive. Maybe, because the book is set in the background of Info major Satyam's rise and debacle and the description of the lifestyle of Punjabis which is pretty familiar to Indian audiences.

For a debut book, it is a very good attempt, full of details and descriptions on a NRI's life and their perpetual pining for their motherland and of course, about people who have been left behind, be it their fathers, mothers, sisters, uncles, aunts or close friends.

Categorised into three sections, the book describes the journey from Mumbai to Delhi to Sydney, further the couple's stay in Sydney and finally, the journey of returning home. The storyline is relatively very simple with the protagonists being Kabir and Myra. Settled very well in India, once when an opportunity strikes the door, it becomes impossible for Kabir to turn it down. They both marry, and fly for their dreamland which is Australia.

The author's descriptive prose right from their family's send off to their settling down in a strange land, their search for a proper, affordable accommodation, their fights, settling down in office, the office politics, the partying that goes on till morning and meeting other NRIs has been done in a simple yet thought-provoking manner. Another aspect which Ketan Bhagat has focused in this book is the problems of the younger generation with the older generation, the issue of generation and communication gap and of course, the adjustment problems between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law while the son is caught between the two most important women in his life.

The book does not necessarily portray or highlight the life of NRIs but it is more about the couple within the four walls of their house. One actually gets the feeling that it is more of an autobiography where Bhagat seems to have liberally taken into account his life at Satyams, his experiences in Australia and maybe the adjustment problems he faced as an NRI.

When you flick from chapter to chapter, one can easily identify with the characters, the plot and the sequence of events whether it be the runaway marriage of his sister Kiran or the breakdown of his friend's marriage. It hardly feels like fiction as every characterization is related to a real time event or happening in the recent times. The author in fact, takes his readers through a period of his own life, how he feels, how he emotes and how he relates to different cities and the people living there. Ultimately, for the reader, it is a roller coaster ride which is familiar but interesting.

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