One Night in the Office.
My last post was on October 31st, 2005. And since then till today…something or the other kept me busy….for the first week, the Diwali festivities and a few holidays…and then a week that kept me quite busy and tired....
Hell…….whatever the excuses are….the fact is that I couldn’t post anything these days….and I am kind of feeling guilty…. but hey wait….these are not mere excuses…are they……? What kept me busy is a gentleman who is a new age writer and is back with his second book.
Pre Diwali, a section of media was crazy about Chetan Bhagat, the IIT graduate, the IIM – A alumni and an investment banker in Hong Kong. His first book created a storm and received rave reviews but well….at that time I was not much into reading these young, upcoming writers and I was still satisfied with the likes of R. K Narayanan, Khushwant Singh and occasionally with Mr. Vir Sanghvi and his articles in The Hindustan Times. Consequently, I was greatly ignorant about Mr. Chetan Bhagat and his “Five Point Someone”.
But this time, the massive publicity sure asked me to stop and take notice. He was literally everywhere…every newspaper and possibly every portal carried the excerpts from his new book “one night @ the call center”, splashed his interviews, his pictures with an innocent smile on his near angelic face and a sling bag on his shoulder – looking at the pictures, I felt as if he is some under grad who has somehow made big into writing – and didn’t leave a single opportunity to reach the target audience. Trust me; at one time I started believing that here is a writer with his second book, whose first book incidentally won an award and now his second book isn’t worth a look and these publicity guys want to sell it somehow. Too much publicity sometimes is injurious to the brand…somebody said.
But well……I still bothered to read excerpts of “on@cc” on a web portal, merely to gauge the author – whether he is really worth all the hoopla or it is just a classic case of intense, aggressive marketing which may able to sell few thousand copies. I was in for a surprise for sure. He writes with an amazingly narrative form. He is pretty easy with his characters. He is a natural story teller.
And all this after just the excerpt from “on@cc”.
I immediately checked the availability for “on@cc”. Surprisingly, the book shops told me that it hadn’t been released yet. It may take a day or two more for the book to hit the shelf. “I am perhaps being a little impatient and over excited about this new book and the author”, I said to my self. “Let it occupy its place at The Corner Book Store and then purchase it”…but me and my impatient spirit…. I immediately needed this book and wanted to scribe my name on the first two pages with a pencil (that’s what I do with every book I purchase). And if not the book, at least a virtual copy on my name…
I checked indiatimes.com and they were offering the book through internet. I ordered my copy and eased my impatient soul…I knew it may take over a week to them to deliver, due to a week full of holidays but I was still ok with the thought that at last I have ordered one copy and that my order is registered in the indiatimes shopping account…..so in a way…a book with my name on it.
That was it for a while…, I got busy with Diwali preparations and finished “Veronika decides to die”, by Paulo Coelho, another good book, but certainly not his best, nowhere near “The Alchemist”.
Two days after Diwali, I was in office again – yeah… my office doesn’t spoil its employees with too many offs…ahh… whatever… - I was back in office and in the lunch strolled to the near by shopping arcade to check out few chicks. And there just dropped by to a book store – I frequently visit – on an impulse. There while checking a book on Mirza Ghalib, my eyes fell on “Five Point Someone”.
.…Just shuffled few pages and went to the counter….paid the money and got out….though Gul told me that she had a copy of it and I can anytime read it (and she cursed me for being such a snappy nerd)….. Me and my impatient spirit…
I remember, that night I was really tired so just couldn’t gather the courage to read it….just “secured” it (I stick the cellophane tape on the corners of the cover page to avoid a book with dog-eared pages, after few readings…and that’s what and why I call it “securing the book”) and hit the bed.
Next night, there was a really important assignment which needed my immediate attention. Another night, it was Gul, who chatted online till midnight and didn’t give me anytime to read it….poor girl….she always ask me before starting to chat…..“Busy…?” and I always answer …. “No sweet heart”.
Next day, self – indignant and realizing how badly I had been avoiding this book, I picked “Five Point Someone”…
Read the Acknowledgements, The Prologue and reviews on the back and dozed off…..
Next day…got started again and finished the first chapter….
Next night….another chapter finished….
Maa called the next morning, while I was in office. “…did u order some book on the internet…there’s a courier for you…”
“Ohh….so it’s here….good, ya…I ordered….”
“one night @ the call center” by Chetan Bhagat” Maa answered…oh boy…Maa knows about him…this guy is quite popular….I was pleasantly surprised ……“you are a nut”, Maa joked …..“always overspending….”
I was in for a sweet scolding from Maa, I knew….but I escaped foxily ….“Maa , I am in for a meeting…talk to you later….bye” and hung up.
The book seemed nice but with a rubbish cover…perhaps that’s why they say, “Never judge a book by its cover”. I was on the 73rd page when I last put that book down and it still beckons me back….just two days since I first picked up and few hours of reading…
13 pages down the line and “Five Point Someone” is little slow but yet arresting and 73 pages down the line, “on@cc” is amazingly lively and with a delighting pace…
I decided to read “on@cc” and put “Five Point Someone” aside for a while…..but it’s the next in line.
And yes, “on@cc” has my name on the first two pages and is “secured” as all my books…
And guess what….it’s 10.05 pm precisely and I am still in office……volunteered to give company to a colleague of mine who wants to finish his pending jobs…..no….I am not sharing his work load…..I cant…. Even if I want to….his work doesn’t come under my proficiency domain…..
I am going to finish “on@cc” or at least a major chunk of it tonight…..reading till the early hours of tomorrow morning….as Maa isn’t here who yells at me if I am keeping awake after 12 am.
Just after dinner, I am picking “on@cc”.
P.S. Well….a post without postscriptum – so here I want to thanks Mr. Bill Gates and his team for building MS Word…such a fantastic software which helped me type this post….an almost flawless post…..of course MS Word can’t rectify my stupid and silly mistakes in English but well…..it takes care of minor grammatical errors and misspelled words.
And that’s what Mr. Chetan Bhagat said in his two books.