Title: The Three Mistakes of my Life
Author: Chetan Bhagat
Chetan Bhagat seems to be churning out novels on an assembly line. Everytime I visit India and browse through an airport bookstore I seem to run into one of his novels. His novels are made for travel — relatively short, nominally priced, and perfect for on flight reading. It appears that he has found his sweet spot so to speak in the world of fiction writing! I found his first book to be an enjoyable read, while the second was a complete waste of time. The Three Mistakes of my Life is easily the best of the three books.
Once again, the author sticks to a “made for Bollywood” formula. He makes sure that there is a dramatic beginning that creates a sense of suspense and maintains it till the end (like a flash back at the start of a film). Then there is cricket, romance, intrigue, friendship (the common theme in all his books), entrepreneurship, communal tensions, sex, exposure (!) etc. The good news is that the author has done a fine job weaving these into a nice fast paced “masala”. A Bollywood production based on this book has all the ingredients for a super hit!
The story revolves around three friends who join together to start a sports equipment store. One of them is an ardent cricket fan/player and fancies himself to be a coach. The other is deeply interested in business while the third has some strong right wing political connections in his family. The one who is the brain behind the business also happens to be a Math whiz. He tutors his collegue’s sister and ends up in love with her (discreetly of course), thereby complicating and ruining their friendship and business relationship. The cricket fan ends up coaching a Muslim kid, and this adds to some dramatic scenes during concocted communal riots. The story is set in Gujarat and the earthquake that happened there (in Bhuj 2001) is also cleverly weaved into the story. There is plenty for cricket fans as you might have guessed and there is fairly contrived jaunt to Australia(!) (this serves the purpose of a song sequence and skin show followed by some long distance romance for the Bollywood version)
This book is an easy, entertaining read. If you are looking for fancy prose and brilliance in language, this book is not for you.