Five Point Something
Chetan Bhagat's IIT based novel "Five Point Someone" is suddenly there everywhere. It is displayed very well in bookstores, and you wouldn't miss this title on the pavement bookstalls in Churchgate-Fort area. (R tells me that it's one step ahead of Amitav Ghosh's "Hungry Tide" -- which I havn't read till now, but she has enjoyed very much -- in the Crossword bestsellers list. Of course the bestseller lists don't mean anything as far as the literary merits are concerned, but it's funny that a serious writer like Ghosh is grouped with a five point some one in some list!)
I had read "Five Point Someone" a couple of weeks back. It's definitely not a serious work, but it's not meant to be one. What one expects in a book, in that case, would be a gripping storyline, told neatly and logically. This one doesn't have any of these qualities. Instead, what one notices is silly arithmetic mistakes -- involving percentages, lack of a sense of time -- somebody rides a scooter which is bought only three months later, factual mistakes -- color TV arrives in India only in the late 80's, etc. The main characters, fantasising providing superior weapons to CIA, just did not attract me. One word, a word that's used a zillion times in this book, would aptly describe this book -- crap.
On several occasions, one of the main characters complains about the IIT system: not many great engineers or scientists have come out of the IIT's. I do not know about that, but I guess that comment stands valid if one considers novelists or storytellers. At least that's the inference that can be drawn from this five point something!
Chetan Bhagat's blog says that he's coming up with a second book. Here's hoping that that will prove this post wrong.