I recently had the opportunity to read India Was One and asked to write a review.
This was my second read in the genre of Indian fiction. Having been introduced to the Indian culture more in the past few years through my work, I am eager to learn more about the country, language and culture at large. This book offers the reader a quick immersion into the sights, sounds and flavors of the various regions of India. The very same passion and intensity I have come to meet in the Indian friends I have made, resonate through the central characters of Jai and Kaahi and their inner circle of college friends.
When the story opens, it reveals Jai who is on a mission to travel up to the mountain in order to be reunited with Kaahi who is on the opposite side of the mountain. He sees her through the binoculars and they are able to recognize each other through the open space and for a moment in time they are reunited though physically still a great distance apart. In that opening scene, you don’t know why they are on opposite sides.
The story then switches back to the beginning when their lives were more simple and their only cares were spending time with their friends and deciding what their next steps in life will be post-college. This is a lovely story of a young love and the transition to adulthood. It is part romance but also part geography and history.
As the story progresses, Jai and Kaahi move to America where they begin to build a new life together. Jai starts works in his Father’s business. The acclimation is not always easy for them. Soon after, a political crisis forces them back to the country they both love but will hardly recognize upon their return.
The author stops at regular intervals to provide information about the language, custom and other cultural tidbits of information. Although helpful, at times this seemed a bit distracting for me and I believe took away from the flow of the romance. Although I appreciated the information, I feel it would have been more successful as an appendix in the back of the book or part of the forward section.
The story had likeable characters and a good storyline, but a little more depth into their romance would have been a plus. Additionally, the political crisis in the story which caused their separation seemed to happen and get resolved very quickly. Perhaps elongating that time window along with a few more intense personal struggles would have made for a more believable plot.
If you want a quick reading in the Indian Fiction genre which will give you a closer look into the culture of India without boarding a plane, please give India Was One a try. If you are looking into a more intense drama read, this falls a bit short. Overall, I am happy for the opportunity to read & review.