24 May, 2008

Book review

I found myself, a lazy afternoon and Chetan Bhagat's latest gobble-up-without-chewing-book in the same place today. His is the kind of writing we all love to hate. Like music has its we love to hate pin-up guy : Himes Bhaiyya. The nasal overtones. The cap and its faithful friend - tiltillating mic. The 'tashan', if I may use that word. Ok let me not digress into bollymania.

Mostly everyone has read Bhagat's books, from the eww-you-read-chetan-bhagat-propah-english-pride-and-prejudice-is-the-"literature" kinds to the gasp-gasp-have-you-read-five-point-someone-gasp-wow kinds. It is here that I need to clarify my stand on the issue. I enjoy less mental exercise. I like reading about stereotypical people who talk in a language I understand. Just because you don't have to juggle between a dictionary and the book itself doesn't speak of about a writer's work. So I can safely say I enjoyed "the 3 mistakes of my life". It brought back memories of munching on a boondi ka laddu on Republic Day (we used get these brown paper packets with the following: 1 boondi ka laddu, 1 samosa and 1 soggy patty and maybe a few ber as per availability on 26th January and 15th August...yeah that packet made up for all the marchpasts) and then feeling the tremors of the Bhuj quake. I simply couldn't fathom something so powerful rumbling all the way from Gujarat to Gwalior. The book reminded me of how I had watched the Indians romp Austrailia in a nail-biting test match during my class ten board exams (what a sham those were). Running from the study hall umpteen times to watch the match, then guiltily going back and pretending to study, ears straining to hear the score. Finally I had plopped myself in the common room, armed with my books, eyes glued to the tv.

And all this made me wonder...everyone can write - long flowery sentences, short uninteresting ones, characterless plots, crowded stories, but to spin a tale, that takes something. I finished the book in one reading (and after volumous vikram's very unsuitable suitable boy, I think it gave my bruised reading skills a jovial boost). The story had something to keep me glued. Yes I had an empty afternoon but they usually get converted into extrememly long kumbhkaran snoozes. Maybe its because his protagonists are so tangible? Is it because its just easy reading and the brain like our bodies can't resist the easy way out? Or is it just because he writes well? After three books, I think I will have to choose the last option. Give it to the guy. His writes make you read.

12 comments:

  1. His writing is simple to read, and you get hooked to it - good points about him. But I am also one of those guys who hates chetan bhagat's writing, but for a different reason.

    I disliked five-point-someone because he exaggerated, a lot. And he used the hype of the name of iit to become famous, which is well, what everyone else in the cheap media is doing today, which I get hurt to see, as an iitian myself. And above that, he is an iitian, and is still doing that, makes him very dislikeable for me.

    Abhi.

    p.s.One-night-at-call-centre was definitely crap, it had no story at all, and well, it was crap.

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  2. Ya the second book WAS bad, I agree :D But this one is definitely good. At least I think so.

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  3. dpcinh8:43 pm

    Kumbhkaran was an insomniac in comparision!

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  4. didn't like it, cudn't read it. i don ot need a dictionary to follow any of the blogs i follow or to read maugham or henry, but they have a style that bhagat lacks. half of the story is the way it is told and chetan doesnt spin it my way

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  5. baah. humbug.

    (thats is dickens and doesn't need a dictionary either)

    a very big hi5 to comment #3

    this was *not* a book review

    i did read both of his books
    (bought both actually)

    people have borrowed them and not thought about returning

    they definitely don't require mental faculties most of the time

    BIG reason why you like them

    would i still read the third one?

    yes

    just so that i can say it was crap

    or NOT

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  6. dpcinh: Now that the truth is out (sheepish grin), I will humbly accept the crown of zzzzleepy head.

    Haru, Sopho: I checked up. Bickering in my 'dictionary' turns out to be a sport that is good for health. Glad to hear your views.

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  7. Hmmmm... his writing is potty-reading! Hehe!

    Mills & Boons also get over in 30-45 mins and his take hmmmm around 45-60 mins. Lots of people read them! :P

    Don't get me wrong, I love non-cannonised writings - Candace Bushnell is hillarious! But he isn't funny, he isn't a great, or even a good writer... He's made some right decisions. Also, have you noticed how he has no consistent style except that he tries too hard. Blah. And a LOT sells! People like instant gratification. :)

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  8. JD: Don't get me started on instant gratification. The birds and bees story sells on that. Every single time. Ok,take for example our little blogosphere. You feel good about getting a comment, about what you write, from unknowns and knowns. Multiply that by a gazillion and that's Chetan Bhagat for you. No, I am certainly not defending Bhagat, just wondering why his writes are so popular.

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  9. it's campus fever

    and it's catching on BIG time






    case in point: bindaas, bigadda, firangi

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  10. Bought all 3 of his Mistakes (though I sort of liked 5 Point Someone) and like his writing about as much as I loke Vikram Seth's writing (which isn't a lot of like either).....

    I like to equate Bhagat to James Blunt.... ;) "You're Beautiful" sounds nice the first time....any further listenings elicit a big "SHADDAP" :)

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  11. mr.crowley: That's a crazily good comparison. He's Blunt. Yes.

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  12. rightly said...the writing doesnt stress your mind at all and its a very smoothly flowing story..
    well i beleive thats what makes it too popluar among youth.
    besides this chetan knows well how to capture the target segment.
    best
    piyush

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