ചേതൻ ഭഗതിന്റെ ഹാഫ് ഗേൾഫ്രെണ്ട്
ചേതൻ ഭഗതിന്റെ ഹാഫ് ഗേൾഫ്രെണ്ട്-
ബീഹാറിയായ മാധവ് ഝാ യുടെയും ഡൽഹിയിലെ സമ്പന്ന കുടുംബത്തിൽ പിറന്ന റിയയുടെയും ജീവിതത്തിലൂടെയാണ് ചേതൻ ഈ കഥ പറയുന്നത്. എന്നാൽ, ബീഹാറിലെ ദയനീയാവസ്ഥയാണ് നോവലിന്റെ പ്രധാന ഫോക്കസ്. വിദ്യാഭ്യാസ സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളുടെയും റോഡുകളുടെയും ഒക്കെ ശോച്യാവസ്ഥയും, തങ്ങൾ ജീവിക്കുന്ന ഗ്രാമത്തിനു പുറത്തു എന്തു സംഭവിക്കുന്നു എന്നറിയാത്ത കുറെ മനുഷ്യരും കഴിയുന്ന ബീഹാറിനെയാണ് പശ്ചാത്തലമാക്കിയിരിക്കുന്നത്.Once upon a time, there was a Bihari boy called Madhav.He fell in love with a girl called Riya. Madhav didn’t speak english well.Riya did. Madav wanted a relationship.Riya didn’t.Riya just wanted friendship.Madhav didn’t.Riya suggested a compromise.she agreed to be his half girlfriend.
From the Novel ;
She entered my room and I slammed the door shut behind us.My room was furnished with the bare necessities- a bed. a desk, an easy chair and a study chair .The walls were lined with certificates and pictures.
So many certificates, ‘ she said as she scanned them.They began right from the inter-school tournaments I had won in class VIII to the one I had for participation in the national games.( My team from Bihar had come eighth)
‘And are these photos of your friends?’
‘Those are friends from my old basketball team,’ I said, standing behind her.I stood close enough for her hair to touch me.We had never been alone together before.
‘How about family pictures? ‘ she said.
I opened my study-table drawer.I took out a photograph of the Dumraon royal School’s annual day.My mother stood on a stage along with students in red sweaters.
‘Your mom? ‘ she said, holding the picture.
‘She’s the principal.’
‘You have more pictures?’
‘Not really, ‘ I said and rifled through the drawers.I found another black-and- white photo,but hid it.
‘ what is that?’
‘It’s a childhood picture.’
‘Oh,then I defenitely want to see it.’
She charged towards me.
‘No I protested and tried to shut the drawer.She laughed, and tackled me like she did on the basketball court,treating the picture like the ball.
On the court our occasional touches meant little.In the room, her jostling me felt electric.I wanted to grab her tight,but didn’t.I didn’t want a scene like last time.
I let her have the picture and stepped aside.She looked at it and began laugh.
‘How old are you in this ?’
The picture was of my parents and me standing outside the haveli.My mother wore a saree with a ghoongat covering half her face.I wore a vest and little else.
Riya sat down on the bed.she examined the photograph like a detective solving a murder mystery.I sat next to her.
‘ Is that your haveli?’ she said.
‘That’s fifteen years ago.Now it’s falling apart.’
She looked closer.A cow was visible in the background.Two kids sat under a tree with a old man.
‘Who are they?’
‘Random people,perhaps some visitors.I told you , people come to us with their problems.For them,we are still the rulers.’
‘I’d love to go see it.’
‘What ?’ she said , puzzled.
‘You? In Bihar?’
‘Yeh, why not?’
I shook my head and laughed again.
‘What’s so funny, prince?’ she said and tickled me .
‘Stop it, I’m ticklish.’ I said and laughed uncontrollably.
‘You think I can’t leave my sheltered life.huh?’ she said,poking my stomach with her fingers.I grabbed and held her.She realized it only after a few seconds.
‘Hey,’ she said.
‘You’re holding me.’
looked straight into her eyes.She did not look away.Even though I had zero experience with girls, I could tell this was a good sign.
‘What?’ she said.