Sunday, June 01, 2008

The 2 mistakes of my life

Sent: 06/3/2008 10:48 AM
Subject: The 2 mistakes of my life

Dear Chetan,

This email is just a confession letter. You have let me down and I have no reason to read your future books. You don't know me. I'm an ordinary techie from Bangalore who read your books. And somehow I felt I could write to you after that. I can actually tell others what I am feeling right now, and that I am anyway doing through my blog - which is to request you to stop writing for everybody's sake. (I know this was kind of a strange sentence, but had to match with your hero's)

I made two mistakes, I want to go into details, as I am not a fool like your hero who just gives sneak previews and no details in his e-mails.

My first mistake - I bought and read your second book "One night @ a call center"
My second mistake - I bought and read your third book "The 3 mistakes of my life"

Now if you ask me why I bought your second and third books, its simple - because I am a huge fan of your first book. It has all that ever needs to be told about the college spirit. College to my friends and me was a place where we did everything except studies. Your book was such a refreshing one at retelling our own stories to us so well that I could see myself in most of the situations narrated in your book. It evoked memories about our (mis)adventures, pricked nostalgic senses and often brought a lost-in-memory-kind-of-smile to my face each time I read or thought about a passage.

Now after that path breaking book, you came out with ON@CC. In my opinion, it was a poorly written sequel to your first book. I was still ready to give you the benefit of doubt as you were not an experienced writer and also because you had at least selected a modern plot. Even though the story was a complete bore, the setting and some of the incidents had something attractive about them, because it was all happening around a call center. Now since your readers somewhat accepted that book also, you somehow thought you could come out with any damn nonsensical story line and still manage to get away with that. That is evident from your third book. What kind of a story is that? Apart from that utterly stupid story-line, do you think the book has any other USP which will take it through to the shores? Stories of unemployed youth trying out their luck in a number of business ventures, at the same time engaging themselves in their other passions is told over and again by countless storytellers of our nation. Do we need an IIT+IIM->IBanker to offer us the old wine in an old bottle yet another time?

Your books tagline says its "Based on real events,..." Márquez sets some of his works on his Macondo in a magical way. Rushdie also showed us how to tell a story interspersed with real events through The Midnight Children. If your attempt was to do anything similar to that, I am afraid, it was a failure. In your story, the real incidents looked more like forced into the storyline because there is a need for a catalyst. I don't think they jelled well to the storyline. The real incidents were kind of standing out from the main flow. Something like the characters read newspaper and found out that there was a volcano eruption happening somewhere or that somebody landed in mars. The effect of these incidents on the storyline was minimal except for the last major incident mentioned. But then that is the bare minimum one expects from a book ‘based on real events’. Anyways, as somebody mentioned somewhere else, an attempt to describe the relevance of the real incidents to the storyline will be like opining on the saltiness of pickle in a hootch shop where a spurious hootch catastrophe just took place.

This e-mail is not a sentimental decision. As many around me tell me, I am a good techie because I have little emotion. This is no knee-jerk reaction. I waited over three days, watched my missus' silent face whenever I was reading your book. But after all that, when I finished the book, I felt like throwing the book out of the window, I had no choice left. I have no regrets either. May be I’d have wanted to talk to some random bimbette once more but that doesn’t seem like such a good idea right now, as my missus might read this.

Sorry to bother you with this. But I felt like I had to tell someone. You have ways to improve as an author but you have written a decent book (when you contained yourself to IITs, IIMs and may be I Banking). So, please please restrict your creative freedom to your familiar terrain and abstain from venturing into the love life of gujjus, marwaris, punjabis, mallus and the like. There are umpteen numbers of stupid idiots out there, who call themselves 'writers', to do that job. Please don't add yourself that long list. Have a good day.


If you are completely clueless as to what this is all about, please read this.