India’s bestselling novelist Chetan Bhagat based one of his best-selling books ‘ 2 States’ on his own romance with girlfriend turned wife Anusha. Just like Ananya in the book, Anusha Suryanarayanan is a Tamil Brahmin (‘Tam-Brahm’) who met the writer from Punjabi family while studying in college. Chetan Bhagat’s father was an officer in army and had the post of a Lieutenant Colonel. Similar to the way it is shown in his book, Chetan Bhagat’s relationship with his father was not exactly a warm one.
Tamil girl Anusha fell in love with Chetan Bhagat,a Punjabi, while studying for IIM (Indian Institute of Ahmedabad. Anusha says, “2 States is identical to our lives but the characters and settings are similar, the way the plot moves is different from what happened in our lives. But yes, there are enough similarities. In around 2003,). She adds, “I was attracted to Chetan’s sense of humor and his talent to take things in a lighter vein. While other boys were either studying too hard or trying to impress me, Chetan would be busy cracking me up. He thinks we South Indians are too formal and controlled, which I do agree.”
While writing for 2 States in 2009, many people including Chetan Bhagat’s wife felt that inter-caste or intercommunity marriages were not a big issue anymore. But Chetan says that it was still a big thing to consider. He felt that even in present times, kids who fall in love find it tough to tell about their love from a different community or faith to their parents, and have to often take the eloping route. They would like their parents to smile and be a part of their wedding. Chetan says that the book managed to change the perception of many parents including a Sardarji who had become a heart patient after his daughter fell in love with a Keralite. The man read Chetan’s book and so overwhelmed was he that he decided to not only marry his daughter with a Keralite but also set up a 2 States stall distributing the books on the D-Day. He said that if the community wanted to know why he would like his daughter to marry a Keralite, he would give them the book.
Chetan Bhagat with wife Anusha (pictures)
Chetan Bhagat with his sons