Written by an Indian writer Chetan Bhagat, the book is a work of English fiction.
The Only saving grace of the book is its cost; Rs.100 for the original copy, at least the reader does not end up feeling cheated on money, only the time.
The author has written this book with a clear intention of selling the most rather than writing the best.
The story belongs to 3 friends, Omi, Ish and Govind and the last character doubles up as the narrator. The story is set in a small town in Gujarat, and is given as a justification for Govind’s incline towards making money in the early half of the book. The other 2 characters are shown as typical 20 year old, without any direction or concrete plan for the course of their lives. These friends share a common interest in cricket, a sport close to the heart of most men born Indian. The story unfolds onto some basic ideas – business, love-lust and Communism.
To make the first mistake of the life, the narrator invests all his and his friends’ savings in an over ambitious deal of a shop which is destroyed in a massive earthquake. This mistake makes Govind feel guilty for an incorrect decision made. The second mistake is made when Govind gives in to the persistent passes made by Ish’s sister, and sleeps with her. As both his friends find out one after the other, accusing him of crossing a moral boundary, the first point in the bible of code between friends, Govind finds himself falling in the eyes of both his friends as a show of lack of character and chastity. The last mistake is set amidst Godhra riots when to save one of the Muslim kids being trained to become a cricketer by Ish, both Ish and Govind become witness to Omi’s death, who is bound to a communal Hindu party, as payment for a debt taken from his uncle.
The glorified mistakes in the book lack strength – why would one blame oneself for a natural calamity which has taken away your lifelong investment? And there is something called insurance which the self professed intelligent Govind has chosen to ignore completely. Still, this is the only mistake which still portrays some life. The next mistake, when Govind falls for Ish’s sister Vidya, there is hardly any love shown between the two. The only facts mentioned are that the female is very beautiful, and is more than ready to get active in the protocol for making babies. Some intimate and first love moments are thrown in here and there, but I fail to understand who smiles these days reading that ‘she touched my hand gently’. The easiness of making advances at her maiden home for a girl lacks practicality, and is very story like. The 3rd mistake is not very convincing either, when one of the friends dies in the riot. This is a bit of a saving grace after the shallow second mistake, but I could not comprehend how Govind holds himself responsible. The narrator sustains the first couple of years with these mistakes, and one day after, overcome by guilt and grief, pops up sleeping pills, and is rescued by our dear writer, to whom he has been narrating the story. The story ends like all such novels do, all the live characters coming together and hugging each other, thus forgiving and forgetting the past.
The language of the book is plain English, with no difficult words or literary phrases. The ingredients of friendship, cricket, love or lust and the great Hindu-Muslim divide in India is used to touch the feel-good and feel-bad points of the common man. To add a lit of glitter, there is even a short trip to Australia, featuring a line or two about inexhaustible cricketers and topless women.
A total thumbs down.