Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Three Mistakes of My Life - Chetan Bhagat

I like Chetan Bhagat's writing. I spotted 'The Three Mistakes of My Life" on the shelves , quite a few times, but never really thought of buying it... The last one,'One night at a call center' which I enjoyed reading, failed to impress me. So, I wanted to wait for a few reviews on this one, from friends before I invest time and money - the two big investments according to me for any book. Finally, when I got some nice reviews on the book, I bought a copy for myself.

I liked the friendship that the three friends - Omi, Govind and Ishaan, shared. Chetan had picture painted their lives on paper, black and white. It is interesting how these friends be with each other throughout and its nice to note the mild humor, subtle emotions, strong friendship, teen relationship, moral responsibility, and strict conscience, all of which surface in the story, in just about the right dosage.

The book is about the three mistakes in Govind's life, as narrated by Govind in Chetan's script. The first mistake is centered around the concept of " Look before you leap ", the second one around " Keep off the limits always ", the third one around " Just in time saves nine ".

The prologue and epilogue of the book are extremely catchy and very absorbing. Chetan writes these sections well. Every character sketch is carefully thought out and carved to fit the story.

It is an enjoyable book throughout and very was interesting to read in the beginning. After a point, I was not sure why the boys used the 'f' word too often. Agreed, the book was meant to sound casual, but the use of this word and related words in an Indian book too often, makes you question the script and the importance of the values of the already waning Indian rules of conduct. I am sure, even without the word ( if you chance to read this book, try counting the number of times this objectionable word is used in any given chapter) the message would have been conveyed and the effect would have been possible. I am also sure, the boys never meant what they said.

Can somebody explain why every love affair in a book has to end in a result that is so totally unacceptable to the cultural values? Or is it that to make it to the history/book, there has to be an incident that is out of way? I don't understand. Call me 'Conservative' and try to explain 'These things happen", but I am surely concerned about those teenagers who read the same content and are in the confused stage in life where they have every chance to 'Take a chance' following the book.

There was one section on the riot where two religions were involved. 'Anger is short madness' is a saying, but that does not mean just about any word can be uttered in the script of a book. If it were a movie, the censor board would have worked on muting the obscene language.

Makes me wonder, if it would have been possible to censor some sections of the text and still convey the point? May be it is a little too much to expect, but don't you think children and teenagers are the audience that matter the most in any message - Movie, Music, Book, Magazine?

If India's pride in culture and values have to shine, more discipline should come into the language used by even a movie or fiction character. Movies, Music, Magazines and Books should portray the best. Everyone is interested in one of these forms of information. Wherever you go, if you see a clean floor, you will surely make your best attempt to keep the floor clean. The same applies to decent language in every day lives. Can we make an attempt?


SG said...

I was not sure why the boys used the 'f' word too often Exactly my feelings when I read the book! I personally never swear and do not let anyone (I know well, that is) swear, atleast in my presence. I think it has a lot to do with gender, an assumption that is valid all over the world – men like to and do swear a lot more than women. So I am guessing (and hoping) that if Chetan wrote a book about 3 girls, the ‘f’ word would not have shown up at all or as much. The other reason is the difficulty that lies in projecting a situation in a foreign language. To make my point, I will take a couple of examples from my mother tongue – doesn’t ‘arivu kettavane’ sound a lot harsher than ‘idiot’? Also, there is no way you can translate ‘poda naye’ to produce that same convincing effect in English. Being confronted with these issues, I presume Chetan chose the one word that he believed would drive home the point and he is probably a ‘die hard’ series fan ! That being said, I like your point about making an attempt although I doubt its success since this is so much a way of expression that it almost becomes a part of one’s personality and for that to change, we need evolution!

Can somebody explain why every love affair in a book has to end in a result that is so totally unacceptable to the cultural values?I would look at it two ways – those who find it unacceptable might actually enjoy reading it (hypocrism is unfortunately widespread!) and for those who find it acceptable it is a matter-of-fact thing that should occur. Those who neither find it acceptable nor like reading abt it are far and few and hence do not fall into the targeted market segment.

Or is it that to make it to the history/book, there has to be an incident that is out of way? Again, the question is how ‘out-of-the-way’ is it? It is more like a chicken-egg situation: the media shows it because it is happening in real life and since the media shows it, people in real life are encouraged to do it. You would be disgusted if you knew what many youngsters today are upto and the pathetic part of it is that it doesn’t disgust them one bit, infact they consider it downright normal for someone like me to hear about it (how else would I whats going on!)

Neha Sharma said...

this is a totally surprising book andone cannot figure it out what typeof book may have misconception that this book leads to some businesslegend story but it is noy then at some point of time you will think that it will be something elsebut it is nt .the end is not good i.e not intellectually written but any way worth reading for. at some point of time you will surely believe that itis some script of a bollywood movie and it is a superhit one . i finished the story in non stop 7and half hoursand i finally realisethat it was worth reading for.

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