Before sharing my review of one of the well-known books One Night at the Call Centre by one of the renowned novelists Mr Chetan Bhagat, I would like to ask you one serious question – why do you read books – to gain knowledge, to heighten thinking capacity, to improve vocabulary and grammar, for entertainment, for escaping from the situation you are currently into, or to satisfy your quest of sex by reading some of the intimate scenes the book describes? Well, the last part has to be emphasised because many contemporary novelists have made a habit of elaborating the sizzling sexual discoveries of their central characters. Well, there may be many other reasons than those mentioned above. However, all those reasons will be, more or less, coming out of these major ones. What is your reason? And why do you think Chetan Bhagat is becoming more popular day by day, with every new book coming out? Now we will get into the book by him.
Here, I am really blunt and don’t have any regret in saying that I did not read Mr Bhagat’s all the novels, except his very first book Five Point Someone and, to an extent, Half-girlfriend. It is the only good book he has written till date. It might be because of being second, just after the very debut work and he thought to get a good book entry. This novel, One Night at the Call Centre, in spite of being a good attempt at contemporary writing, cannot be called a complete novel with all the good qualities that you would like to see in a book. Still, with troubles and speed breakers, this novel goes to a good length as a good book. It has the long-flashes of brilliance and you can easily mark those out.
Now, let’s come to the meat of the story. The story begins with a frame story which recounts a train journey from Kanpur to Delhi where the author meets a girl and she narrates him a story on the proviso that he has to make it his second book. To which the author reluctantly agrees. Seriously? I mean, how inane the idea is! Anyways, let’s move further. The story centres on the lives of six chief characters, working in a call centre in Gurgaon (now Gurugram), Haryana, describing their personal and professional woes and misfortune also what they want in their life. Shyam, one of the six employees, is the narrator of the story. Each character exchanges their head-aches of life with each other and the story moves on a constant pace. The twist in the story comes when, with the intention of cheering up, they go out and while returning to the office their Qualis crashes into a construction site. They struggle for life. Suddenly, despite of no network on their phone, Shyam’s mobile phone starts ringing. It’s a phone call is from God, heard by everyone. God tells them the reasons for their sufferings, gives suggestions to improve their life and advises them on how to get their vehicle out from the constitution site. This phone call changes their lives dramatically.
The story could be more interesting. At the same time, it could be more realistic because the theme that the author wants to exhibit demands a better, a realistic and a serious content unlike what the author has offered. The characters are not very well-developed and their appearances and occurrences are not in a harmonious way as it should have been. Language… I don’t need to comment because Chetan Bhagat keeps things simple and he is good at it. In short, the only good thing about this novel is that Chetan Bhagat wrote it.
To conclude the review, I will say that the book is entirely written keeping Bollywood angle in mind. A cheesy film has already been made on it which could not get the popularity (as was destined from the book itself). What really troubles me is that there are a great number of readers who enjoy such a cheapish and downgraded book in the name of literature. These readers are actually unaware of the great Indian literary treasure. From the above three paragraphs, you can pretty much understand that this is the book you can simply avoid. There is nothing to gain from it, but certainly, there is much to lose if you opt for it. So, it’s your choice.
By Nidhi for Egoistic Readers
One Night at the Call Centre – Book Review
- Egoistic Reader's Vote
A book which is better avoided rather than indulged and left in between… Chetan Bhagat is at the height of Chetanism and you how things go when he is at his pick!