Sunday, August 6, 2006

Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat

Five Point Someone: What Not to Do at IIT by Chetan Bhagat
(Buy Five Point Someone: What Not To Do At IIT from, Kindle e-book)

3 stars
Finished reading "Five Point Someone" in June. This book is acquiring somewhat of a neo-cult following among some sections of the urban educated class in India, partly because this happens to be possibly the first work of fiction set in the campus setting of an IIT.

The book is fairly readable, owing partly to the fact that it is less than 300 pages long. Also the fact that it has a sprinkling of most ingredients one expects to find in a pulp-fiction thriller. For someone looking for an insight into the secret sauce of IITs and the amazing success that it students have chalked up over the decades, this is not the book. It will disappoint. The book however does, should, strike a chord with most students or near pre or post college years in India. The ending is a bit hokey, with the Hari's dream downright melodramatic, as if the author realized he really did not have a proper ending to the book, and therefore had to resort to this stunt. Otherwise, you shall find a bit of everything in the novel - friendship, rivalry, intrigue, suspense, love, sex, proper Hindi movie style family melodrama, and most other ingredients that one would find in a Hindi potboiler.

If you read some of the reviews on you may feel the book is a lot worse than it is - and that is probably because people are either taking the book or themselves too seriously. And yes, the book does also take a dig at some of the bookworms, the "muggus" - which also may not sit too well with some "muggu" brethren. To be fair, these "ghota-totas" are also some of the same people who make it big in life, so to portray them as people-without-a-life is a tad unfair, bit that is a liberty the author takes - grant him that creative license.

In the end, take the bookwithout any tags attached to it - read it in 3 hours or less and be done with it.

Here is the synopsis of the book and author fromthe book site:
Set in IIT, in the early '90s, Five Point Someone portrays the lives of the protagonist Hari and his two friends Ryan and Alok. It explores the darker side of IIT, one in which students- having worked for years to make it into the institute-struggle to maintain their grades, keep their friends and have some kind of life outside studies.
Funny, dark and non-stop, Five Point Someone is the story of three friends whose measly five-point something GPAs come in the way of everything-their friendship, their love life, their future. Will they make it?
Chetan Bhagat graduated from IIT, Delhi in 1995. He then did an MBA at IIM, Ahmedabad, from where he graduated in 1997. Bhagat currently lives in Hong Kong and works at a prominent US investment bank. Apart from writing, Bhagat also has a keen interest in yoga.

© 2011, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.