Sunday, December 11, 2005

Chetan Bhagat's One Night @ the call center

After working for over two years with a Multinational that also does Technical Support of their products via a call center here in Chennai and being associated with people working in call centres I have finally decided to not read any further this book that is being talked about so much. It literally bored me to death. Why read pages and pages of things that go on in the lives of characters in this book that you see almost everyday. The irritating part is this. I am on page 134 out of the 289 page book and I cannot wait any longer for the dramatic turn of events. In fact I am beginning to wonder even if there is one. The teaser on the back cover of the book tells you that "...they got a phone call. That phone call was from God." So far that has not happened (the reference to God might have been something else too) and neither do I care. But what really puts you off is this. Chetan admits this story was told to him by a girl he met on a train and that too in the middle of the night. It's obvious that 134 pages of bullshitting merely served as fillers Chetan has done for the book so far (maybe to say something later). But is he trying to say that the girl on the train told him all this. Give me a BREAK! One thing he does well though, is describe beautifully, beautiful girls. I found the characters in the book, too touchy, rebellious and unusually bright (Bagat needs to know the I.Q of call center folks as they can be quite different from those at I.I.T or I.I.M). I even found situations where the book can feel racist like in a call center training class where the trainees are taught that the I.Q of a 10 yr old Indian equals that of a 35 yr old American. Why belittle the U.S when the author an ex I.I.Tian himself will know that an exodus of students from the I.I.T's move to the U.S for higher studies or jobs every year.

After weeks of reading in fits and starts (that should give you an indication of how interesting the book is) I am promptly returning it to my friend who I am sure is not going to be very pleased about it or about this blog. I certainly have better things to waste my time on. Maybe I am old for these books but I also do not subscribe to this style of writing. I am sure even younger audiences and even young things working at call centers are going to find it boring. Maybe if you are those one-novel-in-a-day reader you could give it a try.

At this point I don't think I will care for his earlier work Five Point Someone either.


Preethi Ramanan said...

hey subash :)

you know what????? I have a good mind to come and meet you right away and give you a HIGH five for your comments on Chetan Bhagats book. My god, it is one of the most awful books i have ever read... and ha, if you think the book is shitty by just reading 134 pages then i think you would have been speechless with anger had you read the entire book. Do you wish to know who that girl in the train is???? Let me enlighten you... It is none but god herself/himself (Er..). That was the ultimate stinker... I got so vexed after reading it that i wanted to share it with somebody and vent out all my anger, for a book which i so desperately wanted to read after all the hype that it got in the local reviews...

And you are absolutely right. The reason i wanted to read the book was because it said it was about some call from God. ugh... even after those 134 pages when god finally comes.. he does nothing but preach preach preach (btw he calls on the cell phone and the name says "God calling".. try beating that..)... aaaaaaargh... he tells shyam to have more self confidence.. he tells priyanaka that she should probably give her relationship with her mother a thought.. he advises radhika to get a divorce (gag gag).. i forgot what he tells vroom.. and some similar advise for esha.... all this when their car (with vroom in the driver seat after getting stone drunk)is precariously balanced on some iron rods or some stupid shit like that.. i didnt quite get it... ugh..

wow i now feel so good to have gotten out all the pent up frustration from my system... i had a good mind to burn that book when chetan bhagat goes down on his knees when he finds out that the girl he is talking to (after his brilliant guesses that she could be either priyanka (with kohl in her eyes :):)) or esha) is GOD....

and hey five point someone is not too great either... it just clicked with youngsters coz it was first of its kind.. hostel life, girls blah blah..

tell you what.. if you want a good read try wodehouse.. he is an awesome author...i would love it if you could write a blog on him (hee (wink!!) does it sound like the girl on the train asking chetan bhagat to write a book:):)...


Subash S L said...

Hi Preethi,

I swear I would have gone on an anti Chetan Bhagat campaign had I read and found out myself what was in store in the book after page 134. Thanks a ZILLION! I'am beginning to wonder whether the author was trying to make a big joke out of all of us. I can't imagine people lauding this book with reviews and such. This is abominable garbage! Actually my friend even returned the book to me asking me to keep it for another month to finish it. I AM NOT GOING TO KEEP IT FOR ANOTHER DAY!

When I posted this review I was even a little apprehensive about the comments I would get but I just went ahead and spoke my mind. In fact I was just waiting for this "God" thing to happen to take me off the deathly boring Vroom-Shyam-Esha-Priyanka-Radhika thing but didn't know it was only to get into them deeper. Reading all that could have made me a disillusioned man. "God calling..." and the discovery that the God actually was one of the girls in the story (actually I would have guessed that) would have made my friend the recipient of a shredded version of his book. Thank God it didn't go that far.

Now for something more pleasant. P.G.Woody was a fav with many of my I.I.T friends and some who swear by him have devoured all his works. Maybe I should start my reading habits (Chetan Bhagat was certainly not the way to go) with someone else. I'll definitely consider P.G.

Meanwhile thanks for all the support though.


Florentyna said...

By the way, if you do want some food for thought, consider what the call centre industry is really doing to Indian youth. Brittle illusions of economic prosperity.

Florentyna said...

Wodehouse and Chetan Bhagat are leagues apart.

Why trash a book just because it doesnt appeal to you? One Night is just a light read for light-hearted people. So if you expected the Eternal Truth to be revealed at the end of those 200 something pages that you kept count of so closely, you're bound to be disappointed.

If you read the book in fits and starts, then it just goes to show that you did not enjoy it and not that the book was uninteresting.

Nothing like Chetan Bhagat to beat a scorching, boring afternoon.

Neha said...

It is the only book that i have literally thrown into the trash can. For all the love and regard i have for books, that was an exceptionaly hard thing to do.But you know that feeling of contempt when you just have to let it out. That and some more lent quite some force to my throw.

The writing profession is getting a bad name if such stupidters are allowed to litter the literature landscape.

Mr Bhagat with his all that smiley face, that crew cut hair and the round spectatled nose might just as well give up on writing and do some IITing. If he cant do that at least he should spare the unsuspecting public with his stupid, moronish writing.

You may be from an IIT (your certainly dont write like one) and you may have a funny face Mr Bhagat but pardon me... you write trash and trash is where it should belong.

Subash S L said...

Thank you Neha for stopping by. I can't believe I still get comments for this post. I have yet another reason for finding Chetan Bhagat disgusting despite the fact that he is from an I.I.T and IIT and that is his stupid superstitious custom of including a number in the title of all his fiction works. It's just plain absurd.