Not everyday you sit in front of your computer on a Saturday morning and get emails like this:
Sent: 12/28/2005 11:40 PMTo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: A final note
Dear Chetan,This email is a combined suicide note and a confession letter. I have let people down and have no reason to live. You don’t know me. I’m an ordinary boy in Ahmedabad who read your books. And somehow I felt could write to you after that. I can’t really tell anyone what I am doing to myself - which is taking a sleeping pill every time I end a sentence, so I thought I will tell you.
I kept my coffee cup down and counted. Five full stops already.......
You cannot but help to get hooked, if a book starts like this. The manner in which you are transported to chapter one is just a perfect example of ideal story-telling. The characters are etched quite carefully and the realism that Chetan Bhagat injects in every one of them is to be read to be believed
Well, what strikes you first about Chetan Bhagat’s novels is the fact that this author writes about Indians and for Indians. His characters are youthful, striving and ardent and have the same ethical, social and religious quandaries as many of the young Indians today. At the same time their milieu and emotional response too is unabashedly Indian. The new and the third Bhagat book, “The 3 mistakes of my life”, have all these qualities. This long anticipated novel by the best-selling Indian novelist brings together another installment in showcasing the everyday life of some of the most common, unassuming and inconspicuous people of India.
Story: The book is based on real life events. It begins in a dramatic enough fashion with Bhagat receiving an e-mail from Govind who had taken many sleeping pills and was writing to him while waiting for the deadly sleep’s embrace. Chetan was shaken enough by the incident to track the boy down to an Ahmedabad hospital. Fortunately he was still alive to tell the tale. The book is loosely based on the three mistakes Govind made in his life. What follows is a mix of cricket, religion, business, love and friendship. Govind sets up a sports shop along with his friends in the temple compound with Omi’s family’s help. The shop prospers as Ishan coaches young boys in cricket and Govind teaches maths to Ishan’s sister Vidya who also captures his heart. Ishan then meets Ali, a child master with a hyper reflex condition that makes him hit each ball for a six. Ali displays the talent which Ishan never had and Ali’s destiny becomes his own. Enter Omi’s Bitoo mama (maternal uncle), a communal party man bent on converting the young into fighters in the name of Hinduism. Situations come to a head and Ahmedabad burns in riot fires. Omi dies saving Ali and Ishan finds out about Vidya and Govind, a betrayal he does not forgive. These events lead Govind to his death-bed and that is when he writes the email to Bhagat.
Points to be noted:
In this novel Chetan covered the following problems that persists in india
1. Expensive Education
2. Lack of advancement in smaller towns
3. Conformist mentality
4. Radicalism in politics and sick politicians, Hypocrisy among public, politicians, and everyone alike
5. Religious extremism
6. Bias towards agnostics and atheists
7. Poverty amongst the brighter lower-middle class youth
8. Extreme competition in entrance exams for college admissions and completely study oriented schools
9. Small-scale businesses are extremely risky and innovative ideas always receive suppression
10. Lack of sports education/infra-structure in schools, etc (Smaller schools lack funds and money in everything, just bigger school students get everything)
11. Advanced coaching for exams is expensive so only the upper-middle class receive that
12. Drift between religions, castes and Conservative mentality of parents
13. Lack of awareness, foresight and ideas due to lack of quality education
14. Heavy mugger-friendly curriculum (give them money they will do anything for you)
15. Monotonous books, pathetic teachers, result oriented study
16. Students prejudiced about certain subjects and losing interest
17. People just want to earn, and passion for anything is dead
18. Prodigies and talented folks are mostly unrecognized and all that dies away as unharnessed potential
19. Expensive international air tickets, nice food and even good reference material
20. Stereotyped mentality of 99% of parents ….
I had enough of it and I guess you did too. Just know that it had many more of it… “The 3 mistakes of my life” is written simply and has the quality that makes one want to read the book cover to cover in one sitting. This book like Bhagat’s earlier one, “One night @ call centre", too has the masala, emotion and pace to turn into a potential blockbuster. He wants to be India’s most loved author not the most admired one....this novel eill take him at that spot...