The book A Tale of Two Indians by Maharshi Patel with its predictable plot may seem like old wine in a new bottle
A Tale of Two Indians by Maharshi Patel may make you feel that you are watching those Bollywood flicks that show how the protagonist brought up in the West finds his true identity on Indian soil.
The author is a first generation immigrant currently residing in the US and the book reflects his growing up years.
A Tale of Two Indians by Maharshi Patel published Harper Vintage
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However, one wonders why he writes in the second person though the protagonist is also called Maharshi Patel.
Maybe to impart objectivity but the journey from a spoilt childhood to an enlightened adulthood does not show any trace of it.
We meet a depressed Maharshi waking up one morning and looking back at the years he wasted his doctor parent's money in clothes, luxurious lifestyle and expensive cars.
Maharshi's soul searching began following the then death of his grandmother in India, his father's accident and few other unfortunate incidents.
These come as a shock to Mahasrshi, who till then lived in a too-good-to-be true world.
And so he withdraws himself, which is exhibited through his bunking classes, feeling depressed and becoming a couch potato.
He also undergoes counselling during this period but it seems Maharshi Patel believes that nobody else has suffered what he is suffering now.
Thus when he meets the counsellor with this belief, the poor chap is hardly left with anything to motivate Maharshi.
After all failed attempts to get back to life, Maharshi decides to learn the meaning of life from his grandfather Bhogi.
He travels to Ahmedabad and his grandfather helps to understand these values through several anecdotes of his own life.
Bhogi dada, is the breath of fresh air in this high drama. Various experiences of Bhogi dada is a peep in to semi-rural India and the lives of several Indians, who fight for a respectable existence.
In fact, in a book, which talks of death and cremation in every second page, Bhogi dada is the hero.
Also, each chapter begins with quotes of famous people Swami Vivekananda and Richard Bach among others making it sound like a book on morals.
In an attempt to peep into his soul, Patel in A Tale of Two Indians tells us a story that has been told before.