>One Night @ the Call Center – Chetan Bhagat – Book Review
The story begins with a train journey from Kanpur to Delhi, during which the author meets a very beautiful girl. The girl offers to tell the author a story on the condition that he has to make it his second book.
The book is a tale about the events that happen one night at a call center. Told through the views of the protagonist, Shyam, it is a story of almost lost love, thwarted ambitions, absence of family affection, pressures of a patriarchal set up, and the work environment in a globalized office. Claimed to be based on a true story, the protagonist, Shyam Mehra is one among the six call center employees featured. All the characters experience a dramatic and disturbing event during the night when they receive a call from God.
What transpires later is a tale of cheating girlfriends, conspiring colleagues and even a story of a failed casting couch in the modelling world. Tailor made with a movie in mind? You bet! Here is a sample story:
“Shyam is very upset to learn that Priyanka, a collegue, is engaged to a person called Ganesh Gupta, who works at Microsoft in the US. To add to his woes, he is horrified to learn that Bakshi had cheated him, and Vroom (yes thats a person!), by submitting the Troubleshooting Website to the Boston centre as his own without crediting himself and Vroom.
Priyanka’s happiness at her new found love turns into frustration when she learns of her parents plan to get her married the very next month (with her new found love). But which she feels its too early while both her mother and Ganesh want her to agree. She is even more saddened by the fact that Shyam was eavesdropping on her conversation with Ganesh. When Vroom and Shyam show her that Ganesh had forged his pictures to hide his baldness, she disapproves Ganesh for having cheated her.”
There are more such stories that sets the context for God’s phone call, where he gives advice on improving their lives, both long term and the immediate danger. The conversation with God motivates the group to such an extent that they get ready to face their problems with utmost determination and motivation. So does it help or is it all a delusion? You’ll have to read the book if you want to know.And guess what, Rohan Sippy did make it into a movie called Hello but received average to bad reviews and did poorly!
Now coming back to the book, I’d say its a typical Chetan Bhagat book without the aura of a natural entertaining setting (like struggling college grads in Five Point someone or the institution of marriage in the recent 2 States). If you’ve loved Chetan Bhagat’s other books, this might be a quick read but otherwise, you could give it a pass.