Friday, October 24, 2008

The Boys At IIT

Seen ?Dil Chahtha Hai’? Well if you transport Aamir, Saif and Akshay (a really overweight Akshay, you will know later what I mean) to IIT and prod them to reveal about life in the campus, this book would be the result.

?Five Point Someone? by Chetan Bhagat is a very good account of life in India’s prestigious institute of IIT. Every year there is strong competition amongst the students to get in to the premier engineering college. We get to know the ’behind the scene’ in the lives of the three ?good? students who are kind of ?average? amongst their peers.

The story set in 1995 takes us on a rollercoaster ride through the four years that the trio spends in Kumaon. Three students with totally different backgrounds and thinking get together because they get a five point something GPA at the end of the first semester. And that?s how they end up being known as five point someones.

This was a huge curiosity factor for me because I had always heard of five point something but a five point someone was an interesting play of words. Ryan, Hari and Alok set out to defy the prevalent educational system but end up nonetheless graduating tamely as everyone else. We follow their ?mis?adventures through the Vivas, the classes, the hangout places etc.

Ryan is the typical ?I-don?t-care? about the system guy, who although not very smart, always thinks out of the box. His plans and creative thinking help out his friends at times and at other times lands them in a whole lot of trouble. Hari, the protagonist is someone who has no fixed opinion about himself or the world

He is the kind of person to whom things happen and not who makes things happen. His girlfriend happens to be his professor?s ?beti? whom he falls for in typical Bollywood style. His affair with Neha is the cute romantic sidetrack in the story. Alok’s character although beset with familial problems, has a deep love for food, which sort of runs in the family.

At the end of the book you realize that its not Hari, but Ryan who is the hero of the story because by his actions. He is a practical example of a proper (I guess) balance between books and extracurricular activities. Notice his fixing up a radio in the lab class, the ’’modified screw jack’’ explanation, the squash games etc.

Many readers must have noticed in the story that the author has left many things unexplained (deliberately?). Some of the vague things like the reason for Hari’s blank outs, his family background, and his future with Neha are all unexplained as the story draws to an end. Maybe the author will take their story forward in a sequel to this book or something like that.

Five point someone is being made into a movie by Ritesh Sinha. If he manages to get the cast of ?DCH? back that would be a casting coup. Aamir will ?improvise? the role of Ryan Oberoi (but naturally) and Saif will make the character of Hari unforgettable. But Akshay will have to like, put on 10 kgs to play the character of Alok, who is a little too healthy. I guess the movie could be named ’’Dil IIT Main Masti Chahtha Hai’’.

I liked Chetan Bhagat’s style of writing but I somehow feel that the book is a little over hyped. If you are one of the people who end up loving this story then you must also read Erich Segal’s ’’The Class’’ and ’’Doctors’’. These other two books also talk about more or less the same things as ?Five point someone?. Engineering students can travel down memory lane with the incidents mentioned in the story.

?Five Point Someone? will have you nodding and smiling throughout the book.

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