Sunday, April 23, 2017

Chutney With Chetan: Celebrating the Literary Value of Bhagat Extraordinaire

Congratulations India! 

Under the 'Popular' Section of Literature, along with Agatha Christie (Murder on the Orient Express), JK Rowling (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone), or Louisa May Alcott (Little Woman), the English Literature students of Delhi University may actually have to also study Chetan Bhagat (5 Point Someone).

Chetan's inclusion is a no brainer though, and probably as essential to the literary scene as Chutney is to a Samosa. Why, you ask? Read the following explanation carefully then:
  • Agatha Christie is already dead, and her book is about a boring old person trying to find out why another boring old person is dead. Like seriously! Who would care to read or even watch a film made on this book anyway? Wait - there is already a film, and it has also won an Oscar? Maybe! But did it win a People's Choice Award? Or an MTV Award? No, right? So who cares? When it comes to Chetan however, we can always seek inspiration from his books and analyze how students think in IITs. That's more helpful, right? Also, Christie's book seems to be set on an 'Oriental' Express. Hence it will obviously be infinitesimally better to consider an Indian instead (of China).  Hence, no 'Chinese Whispers' for me please, and Chetan it should be!
  • JK Rowling is meant to be read only by children. I saw Harry Potter when I was a kid. And anyway, there is nothing to understand in this book filled with strange words like 'Alohomora' and silly names like 'Snape'. What? You call such words inventive creativity, and the name is derived from that of a village? Please! Its fantasy, right? I would rather read Chetan and find out more about what educated Indian intelligent boys fantasize about! Ooh! I am excited even thinking about the depth of his analysis of the average Indian's mind. in '5 Point Someone' he had the hero Rancho actually date the Principal's daughter - Kareena! No wait? Wasn't that the movie '3 Idiots'? Whatever! It still happened unlike Harry Potter which is not based on anything real at all! So why read that and waste time?
  • Louisa 'Whatever Whatever' is a silly name that people will be unlikely to either pronounce or spell correctly. On top of that, its a story that propagates American values. After Trump trumping the elections, who needs THAT? Also, the book is very very very very very very old. There is nothing fashionable about it. In Chetan's books on the other hand, everyone wears good clothes and sings melodious songs. Yes, I saw the film, I am sure there are enough descriptions in the book as well. Also, it has great dialogues, good looking protagonists, inspirational success stories, and extraordinary humor. Does 'Little Women' have that? No! Also, Chetan's books are so much more slimmer! It can easily be read the day before the exam. So why not?
So, to all those high strung individuals who seriously feel that its criminal to include the brilliantly popular bestselling author, columnist, scriptwriter of such 'original' remakes as 'Kick', not to mention past 'Nach Baliye' Judge in this list, I ask you to sincerely consider what Roosevelt once said: Every society deserves the criminal it gets.

Happy World Book Day (Or Maybe Not!)


  1. You may start looking at me in a different light(or dark for that matter) after this -

    The first book I ever started to read was Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. For someone who hated books and evaluated the boring index of a book by the number of pages, it was a matter of great courage to pick up something like that as a first read. No brownie points to guess how I fared with it. Then someone said "hey, this book called 5 point someone is about some winning losers, and its funny". I like funny. I picked up that book. And guess what, it may not have been the first book I ever read, but it was certainly the first book ever that I finished reading end to end. Why? Because for a literary illiterate(if that is a thing) like me, his language was very fluid, digestible and the was something to look forward to after every line. And you know what happened after that? I thought to myself, just the way I got involved with CB's book the more I read it, I could get hooked to DB's book too. Lo and behold! The second book I finished reading was Da Vinci code.

    I am not trying to justify CB. But I don't like to brand him unworthy either, because, like it or not, he made a reader out of me. Maybe, that's what DU is trying to do too. Or maybe CB bribed DU.

    Who knows it all? "Who sees it all? Varuna has but a thousand eyes, Indra has a hundred. I, only two." - Devdutt Patnaik.

    1. Hi Vivek! Of course he is worthy of a read, and immensely popular for a reason. But the first book you take up while reading is more suited to school than in a course for English Literature, don't you think? This probably why one of the the world's most read authors - Enid Blyton is never taught in a literary course. In schools, yes. But not while obtaining a degree in English Literature. I hope you understand my point!

  2. very true. Probably as a writer he is taking the best path for him, a more commercial one, but as a reader we need to decide till what extent.

    1. Yes Debolina! As a reader, you can pick up and read whatever you wish. But while obtaining a degree in English Literature, one should at least get to read Literature!