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India Was One Paperback – April 13, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"There is growing popularity of South Asian culture and spirituality as evidenced by the growth of Bollywood, Yoga, Curry and Kirtan in the US. Bestselling books like Eat, Pray Love and The Life of PI have capitalized on that interest. In India Was One the author provides the reader with an inside view of that culture. It is at once informative, exotic and thought provoking. It is a must read for anyone seeking a more than superficial understanding of India and the way it interplays with the conflicts and transformation of our modern society."

I think the oft-repeated cliché is the most apt to describe this tendency of Indians, that you can take an Indian out of India but not India out of an Indian.  --India Post

I enjoyed this book. I was expecting more of an alternative history/political thriller, but the crisis leading to the division of India doesn't occur until three-quarters of the way through the book. 
This novel recounts the story of Jai, his bride, and friends in India and abroad. The story is nicely told, and I enjoyed the descriptions of Indian culture, sport, and geography woven into the tale. A good read.

"Let me say I know very little about India and have never met anyone from there. This book changed all that. It is a tale of a boy and girl marrying and all they go thru. I really enjoyed learning more about them and the culture. This is a book that shows you many things you may not now about India and shows you what love and friendship mean. If you where separated from your love what would it be like for you. You need to read this delightful book to see what this amazing couple go thru. Very well written and I think this book makes you want to find out all you can about India."

"India Was One- is an engrossing story, very entertaining and shares a wealth of information. As a love story it breaks your heart to read of a married couple separated by country and culture. As a way to learn of another culture, India Was One wins hands down. As always it is a shame how we let small differences separate people. I really am glad I read this book and recommend it highly."

From the Back Cover

...Suddenly, he saw something shiny at the bottom of the abyss. He squinted his eyes to see what it was. He ran back to his binoculars and turned them to see what it was. Sharp barbed wires that separated the two mountains came into focus. He had come as far as he could in his country. But she was standing in another country.

He was in South India and she was in North India...


Have you ever imagined India being divided into two countries? What happens to the millions of Indians who are from South India but are now residing in North India? Kaahi & Jai were two such people who got trapped in this situation. Everything was going smoothly for them and suddenly, their world turned upside down.

How will they get together? Will India become one again?

Take an exciting journey with them from their college days in Mumbai to their life in the US and back to India when they find out that India is divided.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450543332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450543330
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,344,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Forman on May 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
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.
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India Was One is not an easy read. It is not a love story, a mystery/thriller an adventure, a travel book or anything that fits into a structured genre. But India Was One is all of those things and so much more.

Looking deeply into the culture and mores of a country that most Westerners don't understand, it takes the reader on a journey that is at once heartbreaking and life affirming. This novel will take you to the heart and soul of both the geographic land that is India and the richly diverse culture that is its people.

While none of us can fully understand a people or a culture unless we are part of it, it does open the doors to more comprehensive knowledge of why India is at a crossroad politically and economically.

But this isn't a history book or a travelogue, it is a story of people who love. Living their lives as all of us do. Working, laughing, joking and taking care of themselves and their families. As they celebrate festivals and buy homes you will see people who are living their lives much as we do. Falling in love as we do.

But there is an undercurrent in this rich and warmly penned story. What if India were divided physically? How would that change the lives of the people of India who live there and the lives of those who now live, work and contribute to so many other countries? Are the cultural divisions that are happening so radically in India akin to a physical division. What if there was a wall or a fence dividing India?

For those readers who want a love story and an understanding of a rich diverse culture India Was One will deliver that with warmth and skill.
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If you are not from India, you probably know a co-worker or a neighbor who is from India and possibly works in the IT industry. You know a bit about him or her but really not very much. If you read this story, you will understand how he or she thinks, the environment in which he or she grew up, in a light, easy, and breezy read. If you are an Indian-American who was born in the U.S. and grew up here, you will also understand a bit more about how your parents and other extended family members from India think. Those who grew up in India will relate to the story and the characters in the story immediately.

For the first two thirds of the book, it is a nice story with nice characters - no one is nasty, no one is mean, no one is conflicted but it all seems real though not very deep. The last part of the book has a Kafkaesque quality to it. It is a metaphor for the secular, humanist India of the past that many of us could relate to while growing up but then we suddenly wake up to a different India that reeks of fundamentalism, conflict and differences. The author, who has chosen to remain anonymous, is an idealist who worries that the door to the India of the past may be closed. Permanently? He fears. Perhaps not, he hopes.
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This is the story of Jai and Kaahi and their friends. I found it interesting in that it gives you an idea of life in India and the perspective of someone who moves to the U.S. Life is quite different in these two countries. Unfortunately, the story didn’t grab me. I didn’t feel very invested in Jai and Kaahi. Jai seemed a bit self-centered, and I wondered why highly educated Kaahi settled into being a bored housewife in the U.S. Also, there were a few very long descriptions of the game of cricket which is apparently very popular in India but not important to the story. I appreciate the idea of the story and the descriptions of life in India, but it wasn’t a page turner.
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