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Fictitious portrayal of women-empowerment

Women with low self-esteem tend to do uncanny, bizarre things; and so does Radhika Mehta, the protagonist of “One Indian Girl”. Chetan Bhaghat has scripted the very essence of the struggles gone through by a modern Indian woman in an engaging and catchy manner which leaves the readers craving for more.

The book is about a highly successful banker, Radhika Mehta who is trying hard to find a work-life balance in her life, but to no avail. She was brought up with a conception that her wheatish skin and the fact that she is over-educated is a men-repellent. But she comes across some incredible guys who convince her otherwise. At least she thought they do, until she discovers that they also possess their own type of male chauvinistic mentality and think that a girl cannot have it all and she must make choices just to be with them.

All through the novel, we find Radhika hectically trying to juggle everything on her plate; her mounting career, guys and her messed-up love life, her conventional mother who has a marriage-obsessed mindset. If we talk about Radhika, she is a strong and independent woman who is ambitious and wants to settle down in a marriage where she is not asked to choose. She knows more than anyone else that she will be able to handle everything there is to when the time comes.

The book delves deep into a most sensitive topic in today’s world, that is “feminism”. There are different definitions into this but in this book, Bhaghat explores the different aspects of feminism embraced by both women and men. As for the main character, she thinks that women should not have any career restrictions and they can perform as best as men can, which we can witness Radhika doing throughout the pages. She believes that an ambitious, highly-educated, career woman is also able to be family-oriented and be an incredible version of “wife” and “mother”. Through her character, we once and for all come across the fact that “You are beautiful in your own way”. The men coming into her life made her see herself as a wonderful, gorgeous woman eventhough she doesn’t fit into the conventional stereotype set by the society for women. Eventhough the men brought a positive impact into her life, they also did inflict more negativity. Some get insecure being beside her and some make her choose between her career and marriage. 

“Why do people tell girls all this? You ask them to achieve things, but when they do, you can’t handle it.” – This extract from “One Indian Girl” reflects on a timely concern where people don’t stay true to what they say and eventhough they publicly believe that women should have equal rights, when it comes to actually implementing it, they act otherwise.

For every woman reading this, the character “Radhika” might have hit deep within. Most of you might have laughed with her, cried with her, got angry with her and been helpless with her…as I did. We picture her young self earning a living by herself in a big city, putting up a brave front and showing up to work everyday, going through heartbreaks and breakups, being pressured for arranged marriage and most importantly being hurt by those she loved and trusted.

Of course we can’t not talk about the amazing author behind all this: Chetan Bhaghat. He is a rising writer of contemporary Indian literature, a novelist, columnist, public speaker and a screenplay writer. Most of his literaty work tackle the issues related to Indian youth, their dreams and aspirations. “One Indian Girl” was a hit by him which was released in 2016.

Chetan Bhaghat really did a commendable job with “One Indian Girl” where he captured the real essence of a modern Indian girl and presented it to the audience with a totally relatable character “Radhika”. He further exposes the insecurities of men through those who come into the protagonist’s life. As per what critics say, there are some minus points regarding character development in this novel, but it is overshadowed by the fact that this portrays what needs to be addressed in this modern world in a rather relatable manner with the characters, the plot and the setting.

This is for all the girls out there: Read this book and know that you deserve what you wish for and never settle for anything less!

Let me wind this up with an incredible extract from the book itself:

“That frankly you, or for that matter, any girl, doesn’t need a man to define her. You need a man to support, inspire…understand you. Help you be the best person you can be, banker, mother, both, whatever. And until you find a man you trust enough to do that, why settle?”

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Design : Janani Kithmini

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