It is time for you to turn inwards, dear authorby Arvind Passey on Sep 16, 2015 • 6:22 pm 2 Comments
It is time for you to turn inwards, dear author
Review of 3 @ a time
There are writers who write what they see and they write about every minor detail that makes their work stand out and probably be read centuries later. There are others who see what no one else is able to see and let us have a glimpse of their interpretations. Then there are those who imagine things and take us on a fantasy trip of a lifetime. In India we have another segment of writers who write even though they are not bothered about the difference between ‘then’ and ‘than’… and they along with their editors at the publishing house don’t seem to understand that Pimpri cannot be spelled Pimri even once. ‘3 @ a time’ by Diptendu Sekhar Chakraborty is a classic example of this last category of writers that the book stores in India are inundated with.
Books like the one that I am reviewing now are essential and must be read… if only to understand how books must never be written. I have finally met an author who has the time and the energy to write pages of conversation that is, at best, mundane… and when he is confronted by a situation where the protagonist can prove to the world that he has mettle, he (the author) calmly summarises the sublime truth in a meaningless paragraph:
I decided to take the matter in my own hands and started to apply through consultancy firms which I believed could help me in getting through with a big firm. My belief came fruitful as when only a few days were left for our batch to leave the college and go back, I cracked my interview with one of the biggest car makers Volkswagen as a marketing specialist with an excellent pay package which was way higher than the highest pay package in the last five years of placement of our college.
Let me add here that the student we are talking about is from the Khandala Business School, has been rejected by Videocon, the faculty are refraining from recommending his resume, and the fellow is ‘in a state of depression’. The stage is all set for a writer to take advantage and give us a glimpse into the wayward machinations of destiny or transform the resolve of a mind that has just woken up into some scintillating repartees that win him his placement. But what do we get? A rather flaccid paragraph of two lines as if a completely sullied ecosystem can be magically converted into an environmentally friendly bonanza with Uma Bharti announcing: Let the Ganga be clean! This never happens.
The book, however, is not an inquest into the tests and travails of an engineering student who has decided to study management. The author, in his wisdom, decided to let the protagonist weave around himself a mesh of relationships that appear and disappear at their whim. So we have Pooja, Naina, Priya, Deepa, Sunita, Sanjana, Sonali, Anita, Ritika, Divya and probably a few more not in the order in which I write their names, prancing meaninglessly and having conversations that are aren’t really improbable but convey nothing of substance except the fact that our youth in college is actually wasting time. Authors need to realise that though a large percent of life is mundane, it does not really have to find its way on the pages of a novel for which paper is made by pulping trees. Come on, if you don’t have anything worthy to be communicated, just focus on your job managing people or selling cars or fudging ledgers… don’t burden the world with a meaningless tale where losing virginity in a moving train is discussed as if there is nothing more important to live for. Read the conversation and you’ll know what I am talking about…
Me – “So you mean to say that nothing happened between you two when you went along with him to Kanpur last month on a train journey?”
Pooja – “That’s news to me. By the way what exactly happened?”
Me – “Forget it if you two are good friends then anyways that incident wouldn’t be true either.”
Pooja – “But really I want to know what exactly are the rumours about me and Asif that have being doing the round in college.”
Me – “Well apart from the marriage rumour, it is said that you too lost your virginity with each other that too on that journey to Kanpur last month in the train.”
Pooja – “That’s gross as even if I want to lose my virginity, I wouldn’t really lose it on a moving object as the friction is too much and I don’t want any moving objects help to lose my virginity. I want to lose it on my own.”
I am stunned. I am speechless. Not just with the ludicrous interpretative intelligence of the author, but also because the sentences willingly mock poor Wren and Martin and make them turn restlessly in their graves. And if this is indeed representative of the college going Indian youth, then the country is doomed.
Why do people write? I guess it is sometimes to share their interpretations or to give tangible expressions to the way they have solved problems. People write to purge their inner withered and scorched selves and also to give a faithful picture to the life that they have lived. If Diptendu declares that his book is about the true lives of students in the cities that are mentioned, I’d say it is an excellent piece of fiction that tells the real story of India. Otherwise, the book deserves to be pulped and the publisher needs to be forgotten fast.
Title: 3 @ a Time
Author: Diptendu Sekhar Chakraborty
Publisher: Omji Publishing House
Price: Rs 140/- (in 2015)
Buy this book here:
Amazon: 3 @ a Time
16 September 2015