>Five Point Someone – Chetan Bhagat
I didn’t expect this to be as entertaining as it turned out to be. Its almost like a movie and you do not have to be an IIT graduate in order to enjoy Chetan Bhagat’s first novel Five Point Someone. Although the book is subtitled ‘What not to do at IIT’, the tag could have been applied to any college for that matter.
I’ve lived in a hostel too and I can relate a lot to what he speaks about, although my life was not half as interesting as in the book. ‘Unputdownable’ is not a word, but I am sure this is how anybody who has been through the pains and pleasures of college life would want to describe the book on experiencing it. But if your not in that slot, you may not enjoy it as much. Also, this is quite an Indian book and a I wouldn’t blame a foreign reader if most of the humor is lost on him/her.
Five point someone is a tale of three friends who come together at IIT. It unfolds in the action-packed four year period from their entry to graduation. There are a lot of things right about Bhagat’s writing – the language is authentic for one and the dialogue quite natural for another. Also, his portrayal of typical college life (and not just IITs) is universal with commonly used ‘lingo’ like ‘insti’, ‘Disco’ etc. Also, the blend of college romance, an academic struggle and the confusion of what to do next is blended in a very entertaining manner, spiced up of course with a task master teacher and a smart ass mentor. The title of course is based on grading systems in IITs, where five pointers are among the laggards in a class. The grade becomes almost a caste system that one has to live with for the rest of one’s life!
Comparison with the movie 3 Idiots:
Although Chetan Bhagat tried to claim high ground just prior to the launch of the movie, the movie clearly has a much strong message. And it sure is just the setting that has been borrowed the 3 idiots writers have done a better job of adapting it for commercial success.
My recommendation – Pick it up for a quick entertaining read (its priced for an impulsive buy) and pass it on for others !