“I’m pissed off. I’m so pissed off… I’m just so…” I muttered under my breath.
“Pissed off about what?”, asked my mother, as she tried to towel dry my hair. It must’ve taken quite an effort for her to do that as I kept shaking my head while I muttered and she towel-dried.
“The book… it was such a waste of time! I mean, this man has really done a very bad job.”
“Three Mistakes…., right?”, chimed in my brother, who had bought the book in the first place, “I find his style to be so…. kiddish!”
… and I did nothing but mutter and mumble about the bad aftertaste of the read, while my mother continued to towel dry my hair and my brother returned to his guitar.
The three big mistakes of my life (as quoted by my brother):
1. I decided to buy Chetan Bhagat’s new book;
2. I went ahead and bought the new book; and
3. I read the book from cover to cover.
For someone who delivered a fair piece of fiction reading with Five Point Someone, this book comes across as an absolute disappointment. Though the theme dealt with is different as compared to his first two books, I think the man should’ve considered altering his style a li’l bit to suit the context.
Didn’t get me?
Well, for example let’s consider the language. After spending a good three years in a city like Ahmedabad, I find it a little hard to believe that three business partners who’ve grown up in the Pols of Amdavad, and even educated in a Municipal School would converse with each other in pretty much the same manner that three IITians or three BPO executives would.
The first big mistake is, in my opinion, our man Bhagat here has not tweaked his style to bring in a ‘feel’ of Ahmedabad. Sure, the places are there, and I could identify with it one hundred per cent. However, I think he could’ve thrown in a few people called Jignesssss, Paresssss, Pinkessss, Hetal, Meetal, Bijal… or something of the sort. Names that make you feel like you’re in Gujarat. Names that give you a sense of place. And whatever happened to the good ol’ name suffixes, Bhai and Ben, that the Gujjus are so famous for….? Heck, even I had grown used to being called ‘Anjanaben‘!
The second big mistake lies in handling the storyline itself. Some sections could’ve been handled with a little more intensity too. Bhagat seems to have gained fame through his style of poking humor at himself/his protagonist, in an almost campy manner I would deduce. Alright, it’s harmless. But, I swear, I could’ve thrown the book out of the window when I saw it reappear in the earthquake and riot sections of the book.
And his third big mistake lies in the way he’s treated the characters of his book. Pathetic, to say the least. Why is it that when he talks of Vidya, I am reminded of Neha Cherian? Why am I not able to read the ‘Gujjuness’ of these characters? It seems impossible for me to believe that Bhagat spent two years of his life in Amdavad and still didn’t notice the dressing sense of the average Ahmedabadi youngster (mostly comprised of skintight t-shirts and jeans that’re tight at the wrong places, with weird patterns that draw your attention to them). Tsk tsk. A little more attention to the details would’ve probably caught the readers attention rather than tiresome dialogues.
The only reason I read the book from cover to cover is because I wanted to see Ahmedabad from another writer’s eyes… but I regret to have even considered it so.
In case you didn’t notice, I tried writing the first half of this post a-la-Chetan Bhagat. It must be quite tiresome for him to have written three books the same way.
I’m off to read something more refreshing to get the aftertaste out of my head.