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.