Days of our Lives!

May 24, 2008

Book Review: The 3 Mistakes of My Life – Chetan Bhagat

Filed under: Books — Santhosh @ 9:09 PM

Book Name
: The 3 Mistakes of My Life
Author: Chetan Bhagat, self-styled youth novelist
Year: 2008
Genre: Fiction
I had typed up this nice little post on how this book was the 3rd mistake of my life, Chetan’s other 2 books being the first two. And then I realized every Amar, Akbar, Antony and their uncle had come up with the same idea.
There is this line in the book: “I was both attracted to him and repelled by him. He had charisma and lunacy at the same time“. This pretty much sums up the book for me as well. The grammar is crap, the plotline is nonexistent, you can write down a list of THE top filmi fundaas and keep ticking them off one by one by one, and above everything Chetan doesn’t know shit about cricket.
And yet you’ll read it through, because it’s about a world that you exist in. As with the other 2 books, Chetan comes across really well in the way he puts across what you do everyday – like what a typical 20 something would think when he’s asked to stay for dinner at a friend’s or how an 8yr old would behave in a cricket shop. And as with FPS and ONAACC, Chetan scores in his one-liners (“Indian mothers have 2 tasks – make children eat more & study more“, “why hadn’t evolution figured out that men liked pretty women better and turned them all out that way?“, “Girls talk in circles. Like an algebra problem. It takes a few steps to get them to the point“).
The one thing the book could have definitely done with though is some good editing. There are just too many anachronisms, mis-facts and fantasies in general – Aussies unbeatable in 2000, metallica tees and incessant sms’s in 90’s India, “that South Indian opener Ramesh ‘replaced‘ by Laxman in the second innings” in the 2001 Kolkata Test, taking khakras into Australia without a mention of customs…, the list just goes on. Oh and hire someone who’s finished 4th grade grammar while at it.
The story? It’s about three 21-22 yr old Hindu boys – Govind, Ishaan and Omi- opening a cricket shop in their neighbourhood along with some math and cricket coaching. The environment is a religiously and politically tense Ahmedabad. They mentor a Muslim boy Ali, a ‘national treasure’ who can hit any ball for 6 due to extraordinary reflexes. The Hindu-Muslim riots crash their world and the three try saving the boy from Hindu fanatics baying for his blood.
Add some ‘original’ content now and then – like Govind and best-friend Ishaan’s sister Vidya falling in love, the Gujarat earthquake destroying their investments in a new mall, Hindutva party meetings, an Australian academy sponsored trip to Australia (based on just 3 balls bowled to Ali), Govind realising his love for Vidya when he’s away and is surrounded by beach babes, Omi coming in between Ali and a trisool thrust by his own father and dying, Ali taking down the last baddie by hitting the cricket ball precisely on his forehead, best-friends Govind and Ishaan dividing their shop into two halves with a divider right down the middle, and finally Govind attempting suicide.
Also throw in some passages on things that an everyday small-town school-going kid would relate to – math tuitions, tennis balls, how parents spend time and money only if it’s related to studies, how nobody is allowed to follow their passions, how Australia with a population of 20 million should lose every cricket match to India’s blue billion – and you have a potential bestseller.
A decent read if you liked the other two. Not great literature by any stretch but definitely captivating in parts.
My Rating: 3/5
ps : Did anyone else also keep waiting for handsome, blond, Aussie, “Pace mate” fast bowler Fred Li to turn out to be Brett Lee?


  1. hey a bit curious,is this story supposed to be a real one or eh? Fiction?!! wat u tink

    Comment by anjali — February 18, 2009 @ 3:01 PM | Reply

  2. oh yes!!! all the descriptions of 'fred li'- pace bowler,back injury, "would hav been selling suits at a store for the rest of my life" -fit brett lee perfectly except for perhaps the curly hair and blue eyes…..

    Comment by Anonymous — September 21, 2009 @ 1:14 AM | Reply

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