I first read Chetan Bhagat in college. It was ‘5 point someone’. I saw it lying around on a hostel table and the cover and the title looked smart. I had absolutely no idea who CB was or what the book was about. I read it, and found it a tedious read, to be honest. It started with an anecdote which I found rather unrealistic and after that it was plain bore. I finished it extraordinarily fast. Not because I was hooked but because I had to return the book back and leaving unfinished a book I had started, was like leaving a movie theater before the credits roll: reserved for the worst of the worse (I am yet to see such a movie. One of the books I left similarly, ok I do not want to lose some of you here but I have to mention it, was ‘100 years of solitude’ (wha…?), yeah, it seemed to me that the book was written particularly to irritate and confuse the single processor, low RAM having brains like mine). The only part of 5PS which really got me engaged was the small romantic episode between a student and his teacher’s daughter. Interestingly, I found, that is not one-off. CB writes about romantic tension rather well. Or it might just be me. My threshold here is so low, almost anything interests me. Anyway, so that was the only part I read properly and skimmed through the rest, with a note to never read Mr. Bhagat again. But the book became BIG. It turned into one of those books which you would be an assh0le not to have read. This kind of started irritating me, like ‘Rang De Basanti’. People were carrying it everywhere, it was everywhere and they could not stop raving about it. It got worse.
He released four more books. None, I guess, topped 5PS but they sold very well. CB got bigger: Movie adaptations of almost all his books, guest lectures which spawned chain emails, columns in leading national newspapers and the cherry, TIME 100. I mildly cried that day.
But I soon realized that he is just a guy writing books, presumably to the best of his abilities. He did not ask to be famous. He, I am sure, wanted to be, but it just happened. I do not think he can write deeper or subtler or better if he wanted to. He is not playing to the gallery. His articles, his speeches, his books all display a common, how shall I put it, callowness (?). I do not think he writes this certain way because he thinks that this will ‘connect’ to a majority of people. I sincerely think he is doing his best and most honest and people seem to like it. And he is TIME 100. F.U.C.K.
So this other day, I was just fooling around with my friend and some of them (females) are chatting among themselves.
“This new CB book is out. You read it?”
“Yea, Revolution 2020 isn’t it? I like CB”.
“Yea, he writes simple stuff but you can relate to the characters”.
“Exactly. But some people (points to me) think he is beneath them”.
OK, so I am an infradick now for not liking CB?
But it got me thinking. Why do I hate him? Is hate even the right word? Does he really write that bad or is it just his Content-to-Fame ratio which irritates me and I have hindsight-f’d him? I needed to find out. So I decided to read his latest offering and make honest, impartial notes. And I did. I read and completed Revolution 2020 and made honest notes. And I shall present them in part deux.