Book Review: The 3 Mistakes of My Life by Chetan Bhagat

258 Pages.

With his debut book, ‘Five Point someone’, he enlightened us that there is a lot more besides swotting going on in an IIT students life. By reading his second narrative, ‘One Night @ the call centre’ we realized that complaining customers aren’t the only ones who call in. And Chetan Bhagat’s third and latest book titled ‘The 3 Mistakes of My Life’ revolves around politics, business, cricket and religion

This is apparently a true story. A suicide note in his email box disturbed the author so much that he traced the recipient of the email and flew down to Ahmedabad all the way from Singapore to meet him. Govind Patel was the writer of the email and this is his story.

Govind is a brilliant math tutor, helping his mother in her small time snack business after his father walked out on them. Ishan, once an awesome aspiring cricketer, ran away from the NDA because he realized he didn’t like taking orders from anyone, disappointing his parents in the process. Omi is the son of a priest and doesn’t want to end up becoming one himself. The 3 main protagonists are best friends living in an old ‘pol’ (colony) of Ahmedabad.

An ambitious Govind decides that the only way they can get their families and other people to respect them is by starting their own business. After much cajoling, Ishan reluctantly agrees and, afraid to disagree against the majority, Omi joins in. Together, they rent out a shop owned by Omi’s Uncle, Mama, in Omi’s family temple complex and open a sports shop. Govind further convinces Ishan to offer cricket coaching to kids who buy sports goods from them. Thanks to his shrewd business acumen, the shop starts registering profits almost instantly.

As the profits grow, so do Govind’s ambitious plans. He once again persuades his friends and the three pool in their profits to rent a store in a mall coming up in a posh area of Ahmedabad. But before they can move in, the Bhuj Earthquake of 2001 crushes the mall, their future plans and most of all their dreams. And they are back to the humble shop in the temple complex.

Meanwhile, Omi’s uncle, Mama, asks them to join his political party as party workers. Because they are renting his shop, and because they would need to continue renting it for some more time, they decide to attend a political rally just one time to appease Mama.

Along the way, Govind is asked to tutor Ishan’s firecracker of a sister, Vidya, and unknown to everyone around they both get really close, causing Govind to commit his first mistake. Ishan discovers an exceptionally talented child, Ali, and dreams of grooming him to play for the Indian Cricket team, a latent personal dream that he could never fulfill. Thanks to Mama’s constant intrusion and influence Omi starts getting more and more involved in politics and religion.
There is a trip to Goa as well as Australia to get Ali to meet and get coached by the best. Religious politics and the Godhra Riots are further added to this broth to turn the world of the 3 friends upside down, and causing Govind to make two more of his mistakes.

Reading Chetan Bhagat’s books always give me the feeling that I am reading someone’s personal journal with his simple language and appealing narration being his USP.

This book is missing both.

The story seems forced; the language is pedestrian and certain situations unbelievable. Because of which, inspite of so many adversities happening to and around them, and you don’t feel for the characters at all.

Cricket, politics and religion, are topics with the most emotional and explosive potential and Bhagat hasn’t used them as he could possibly have. In spite of situations like natural calamities, love, despair etc, no passion comes through. This book made for an insipid read, akin to reading an electronics manual.

And what disappoints even further is that this is Bhagats’ 3rd book with 2 bestsellers preceding it! Third time certainly isn’t the charm for Chetan Bhagat.

Rating **

My very own rating chart;

*Use it as a doorstop.
**Read it if you have nothing better to do.
***You will like it if you like this particular genre of writing.
****Must read!
*****What! You haven’t read it YET !