By Chetan Bhagat
Price: Rs95; Pages: 258
What strikes you first about Chetan Bhagat’s novels is the fact that this author writes about Indians and for Indians. His characters are young, ambitious and passionate and have the same moral, social and religious dilemmas as many of the young Indians today. At the same time their context and sensibility too is unabashedly Indian. The new and the third Bhagat book, “The 3 mistakes of my life”, have all these qualities. The setting is the city of Ahmedabad that though being urban is yet not as metropolitan as many of its metro counterparts. It retains its small town flavour in pols (colonies), traditional Indian households and small vegetarian eateries. It has the protagonist Govind with his passion and acumen for accounts and business, it has Ishan for whom cricket is the element around which his life revolves and it has Omi, a priest’s son and loyal friend who is ready for anything that his friends are game for. The book is based on real life events. It begins in a dramatic enough fashion with Bhagat receiving an e-mail from Govind who had taken many sleeping pills and was writing to him while waiting for the deadly sleep’s embrace. Chetan was shaken enough by the incident to track the boy down to an Ahmedabad hospital. Fortunately he was still alive to tell the tale. The book is loosely based on the three mistakes Govind made in his life. What follows is a mix of cricket, religion, business, love and friendship. Govind sets up a sports shop along with his friends in the temple compound with Omi’s family’s help. The shop prospers as Ishan coaches young boys in cricket and Govind teaches maths to Ishan’s sister Vidya who also captures his heart. Ishan then meets Ali, a child master with a hyper reflex condition that makes him hit each ball for a six. Ali displays the talent which Ishan never had and Ali’s destiny becomes his own. Enter Omi’s Bitoo mama (maternal uncle), a communal...