I am a slow reader and that is why, almost ten days back, my younger son Utkarsh gave me ‘half girlfriend’, the latest book of Chetan Bhagat and I took five days to finish it. In fact, I steal time for such readings and can afford the luxury of reading any book, magazine or even newspapers without break. Utkarsh is also now in the legal profession like me but he has more time for pastimes. He is a fan of Chetan Bhagat. He tells me that he has read all his books because they are very gripping and written in racy style.
There is no doubt that the style of Chetan Bhagat’s writing is very fast- paced and it keeps you busy till you have finished. Not only the style but the contents of the book is titillating and it arouses the curiosity page after to know what has happened next. To my mind his ‘3 mistakes of my life’ is one his best books. The literature, as I think, is not meant only for the entertainment it must also provide food for thought. A good literature needs to be remembered by the posterity but the king of paperbacks, which is what Chetan Bhagat is described, has not delivered anything, which can be remembered hence after ten years. Having said it all I cannot but appreciate and admire the fertility of his mind for weaving the events and incidents like warp and woof, which keeps one entangled till the last page.
‘half girlfriend’ is a story woven around a Bihari young boy, who does not know the English but has got admission in the super elitists St. Stephen’s college of Delhi University, where most of the students still shamelessly take pride in being the linguistic progenies of Goras. Any way, the Bihari boy could get his admission from the sports quota, as he happened to be an excellent player of badminton. He got into touch, which later got converted into friendship, with English knowing, very rich Marwari girl. The girl was also admitted in the college from the sports quota because she also happened to be a good player of badminton.
The similarity between the two ends there. She is extremely beautiful coming from stingingly rich family. They have got the liking each other but there are many hindrances in the blossoming of the love between the two. Her parents got her married to a billionaire who is living in London. The marriage proved to be a disaster. For the sake of the marriage, she was forced by her parents to drop her studies and settle down in London with her husband. The marriage ended into a divorce after a brief spell of one year.
Meanwhile, the Bihari boy graduated himself from the prestigious collage, got a good job with banking industry. However, he gave up his lucrative job and came back to his home town of Dumrao. It may be said here that many of the characters and places in this book are real but their characteristic is fictional. The boy, who is now a young man, is helping his mother in managing and teaching in the school in this small town. In the feudalistic setup in Bihar, his family enjoys good reputation from the poverty-stricken people of the neighbouring villages.
To provide the dramatic twist to the story Chetan Bhagat introduced Bill Gates, the richest man of the world, who is visiting Bihar giving aids and charities for his philanthropic works. The young Bihari man gets the opportunity to bring Bill Gates to his school and also gets a good amount of money for revamping his school. Fired with zeal as he has been, he converts his school into a model one. The fire of his love with the Marwari girl is still burning in his heart. The girl after her divorce with the London businessperson joins an NGO and comes to Patna, where this young man accidentally meets her in one of the most posh hotel, the Chanakya of Patna.
The ashes from the fire of the love are removed in the chance meeting and both of them come into close contact. Neither he has forgotten her nor she of the college days which was nipped before reaching the climax. Chetan Bhagat again provides a new turn to it and the girl suddenly leaves to New York without informing her college friend, to pursue the profession of her choice to become a singer in any hotel. Ultimately, the boy goes to New York to search of the girl and finds her. This is like a happy-ending in a film.
The book is riveting indeed. No doubt, sooner rather then later a film will be made on it, which will be as hitting and successful as the earlier film (Three Idiot) made on his books ‘Three Mistakes of Life’.
Chetan Bhagat is the rock star of Indian publishing industry. After renouncing the highly paid job of the banking sector, he has become a full time writer and now he is rolling in wealth. Mostly, the college students lap- up his books but he has good readership cutting across the age barriers. The young generation can draw lot inspiration from his and his life as well. One may agree or disagree with him but no one can ignore him this is the meeting ground between me and my son, Utakarsh, as far as Chetan Bhagat and his books are concerned.