Disclaimer : Please do not read further if you are a fan of Mr Chetan Bhagat. This is the work of an opinionated critic (of sorts) 😉 Also, I beg you not to read this if you were scouring the internet looking for a proper book review on ‘Making India Awesome’. This isn’t it. Look elsewhere. Please.
Now that you’ve made it past the disclaimer, I assume you’re here because you are actually interested in reading what I have to say … or maybe, you have nothing better to do than read this entire post. Whatever the case, you’re here and that’s all that matters in this moment. You may have guessed by now that I am not the biggest Chetan Bhagat fan. But I also want to clarify that I’m no hater. I’m just a bit of a skeptic.
Almost eight months ago, I did a “proper” book review on Bhagat’s first book of essays, What Young India Wants and I have to admit that I actually liked the book. I still think the title was far too tall a claim to make. India is too diverse for such sweeping statements. But then, there’s always creative license. So I let that slide and actually ended up enjoying that book. If you want to know how I felt exactly, please refer to this link.
At the end of that blog post, I also promised to do a book a review on Making India Awesome, his newer book. You may be wondering why it took me so long. Well, that is precisely the question I ask myself.
You see, after I read What Young India Wants, I immediately bought Making India Awesome and started reading it with the enthusiasm of a cat with a new ball of string. But then, I stopped right at the first chapter. Since then, I have read several other books and done many many other things. In fact, my life right now is in stark contrast to what it was just eight months ago! I had the time to turn my life around and start a completely new journey… but I didn’t have time to finish a book?
Perhaps, it was the familiar over-ambitious title making tall claims it obviously did not (and cannot) fulfil. Or maybe, it was that I just didn’t like Bhagat’s style of writing. Or maybe I am just a bad reader. This is of course subject to endless subjectivism.
That is why, I decided earlier today to leaf through this book and read as much as I can. Unfortuantely, I was left as disappointed as I was when I left it last. But before, I start releasing my barrage of reproval, I would like to say that I thought his preface was well written. I wouldn’t say it was the best preface I’ve ever read but I appreciate his knack for the trade. After that, nothing appealed to me.
Bhagat begins with a chapter on politics with “Seventeen commandments for Narendra Modi.” Now, I don’t know if it’s just me but I found these suggestions (among others) over-simplified, obnoxious and silly. I am not saying there is no truth in any of the points he makes. I agree wholeheartedly that our education system needs to be fixed. I also agree with corruption cleaning drive. Bhagat is a liberal thinker who’s thoughts echo mine many a time (not always, of course). But then, I am just exhausted by his style and I wish that for once, Bhagat would use his skills in articulation to write thoughtful and pensive books.
Here are some suggestions he makes to the Prime Minister :
- Shut up regressive Hindutva fanatics.
- Dress down.
- No hanging out with rich industrialists.
Like his last book, I found many suggestions made by Mr Bhagat extremely unrealistic. I still don’t know why a writer of vivid and supposedly entertaining fiction such as him chooses to express himself like a fifteen year old kid with lofty solutions to big problems.Maybe that is his intention and my fatal flaw is in not noticing the art of it all. Whatever it is, I am still exhausted by his style.
Believe me, I don’t want to hate on Bhagat. I want to like him so bad.
I want to be able to read his books and see what so many others se.
But I am still stuck on just a couple of chapters. I still did not finish it.
But then, I also figured that if I was ever going to sit down and write my “promised” review, it is now. I’ll never finish this book. It’s going to rest in my Kindle memory forever. I can’t make myself read this anymore.
So what review am I giving anyway?
None whatsoever. I am just being honest. 😛
Well, at least I didn’t have to spend much money on this anyway. I got it pretty cheap. So my advice is, please go buy this book. Read it if you can and write to me. Tell me what you liked. Persuade me. Please.
I want to see more than what I see now…