The 3 Mistakes of My Life by Chetan Bhagat

Yesterday, I watched ‘3 Idiots’ for the fifth time and once again absolutely loved the movie, impressed with impeccable acting, superb direction and original story.

However, this time, quite curiously, I found myself ogling at the credit list, searching for the name of Chetan Bhagat, as I remembered his tear washed face, embarrassed at the low-brow treatment, he received at the hands of director-producer of the movie, who allegedly refused to give him his due credit.

Being an aspiring writer, I was quite moved by Chetan’s apathy and decided to check out his novels myself, half out of curiosity and wonder at his creative mantle.

Riding high on my newly stirred sympathy wave, I picked up the first novel of Bhagat, I could lay my hands on. And as destiny would have it, I committed the first mistake of my life by picking up ‘The 3 Mistakes of My Life’ instead of straightaway starting with his best seller ‘Five Point Someone‘, on which 3 Idiots is supposedly based upon.

With a pounding heart and cursing mind, I opened up the first chapter of the novel and surprisingly found it to be the most unusual beginning, where the author explains that this novel is based on a real life story and he got the idea of writing this story from one of his fans, who was thoroughly disappointed with his life and had attempted suicide.

Without fully believing ‘the real life story ploy’, I had a fleeting thought that Chetan is indeed the most original and remarkably creative story writer of this century. And this novel is the rarest of the gems, I have unexpectedly chanced upon and it is going to be a fantastic emotional ride into the human brain and its myriad reactions to adverse circumstances, which can propel a man towards his impending doom.

Well, here, I committed my second mistake! I don’t know what propelled the protagonist to commit the 3 mistakes of his life, but, it was indeed a blunder on my part to let my expectations soar so high on a single chapter, for the very next chapter brought me down to earth.

The novel belied its novel beginning and soon transformed into a predictable story, with the three usual culprits – money, love and religion playing havoc with a man’s life.

To follow the convention, let me tell you a little about the story, which traces the life of three friends- Govind, Ishaan and Omi. The novel emphasizes the financial and social misadventures of our three stooges, hell bent on improving their status in the society. Three friends, daring to be different yet successful in this highly competitive world, forms the crux of this novel.

And, Chetan has left no stone unturned to add masala to this bollywood inspired fast paced novel, picturizing an illicit affair between Govind and Ishaan’s sister, with raging crowds of Hindus and Muslims providing the necessary riotous background and exotic locales of Austria adding romance to this otherwise lack luster novel.

Further, to lend realistic airs to this totally fictional novel, the author utilized some actual calamities like Godhra riots as well as the Gujarat earthquake to evoke sympathy of the readers. However, on the contrary, these very ploys exposed the writer’s mishandling of sensitive issues, as he could only present the financial burden, these disasters had lent on its protagonists and I could nowhere connect with the miseries of the victims.

Thus, despite the hot and happening ingredients, I found this novel to be slightly bland, devoid of that necessary emotional attachment that can cement the gap between the reader and the author and can bring them on the same plane, fusing their mental faculties to produce a holy fire that would engulf the reader into a never ending halo of eternal sanctity.

Well, well, before you start thinking that I am committing the third mistake of my life, by expecting something ethereal from a mere mortal, let me put off my thinking hat and say that I found the novel to be a run-of-the-mill kind, with nothing extra ordinary to offer.

However, to be fair to the author, I think, my high expectations also played a major role in further dampening my spirits and spoiled the little fun, one could glean from a time pass novel.

If you must, I advise you to read this logic-defying, yet economically-viable novel, without being affected by the hype and hoopla created by its famous, much publicized IITian author and his boasted row of best sellers. And who knows, you may actually end up enjoying it!

Oops, I think I am committing another mistake by being so optimistic. Anyways, I am done with Chetan and his over hyped tactics. Good luck, folks!!


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