“Life was so simple when we were young, why did we grow up?”
Excerpts from the book:
“I realised why Keshav kept coming to me. Once upon a time I was Keshav-sweet, innocent and unaware of the world. As life slapped me about several times, and thrashed the innocence out of me. I had killed my Keshav, for the world didn’t care about sweetness. Then why didn’t I crush Raghav completely yesterday? Maybe that Keshav hasn’t died, I told to myself. Maybe that innocent, good part of us never dies- we just trample upon it for a while.”
I don’t know if this post should be categorized as ‘Book Review’. I sincerely don’t know. But then I have no better category to place this post. Hence, it is under ‘Book Review’. More than a review, it is my individual take on Chetan’s book. Chetan Bhagat and his writing have never managed to astound me. I mean, I have read Tagore, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy etc. So liking Chetan Bhagat’s style and his words would mean-I bring down my standards. Well! That is what I thought. But then ‘Revolution 2020’ happened to me.
I had read his previous works. ‘One Night at the Call Centre’ and ‘The Three Mistakes of My Life. I also have his other novels-‘Two States’ and ‘Five Point Someone’ in my collection for the past 8 months or so. But his earlier two works didn’t incite me enough and hence I didn’t bother to read the other two. I preferred watching ‘3 Idiots’ instead- a book based on his writing. This post however, is about his most recent book-‘Revolution 2020’ suitably sub-titled ‘Love, Corruption, Ambition’.
My sister had read this book earlier and she liked it. She didn’t mention it to me if I should read it or whether I would also like reading it. My New Year Resolution for 2012 is to read atleast 30 books this year and blog about them. I already made a facebook post about it. Friends liked and commented on that post. Bingo!!
I started reading the book on 30th December 2011. Ohh… you see that is not New Year. But my new year celebrations started on 28th evening- reason-I had planned leaves. Cut to 30th December, it was a Friday and I started reading the book, late evening, post 8:30 to be precise. The language, writing style, sentence construction hasn’t improved much. But wait!! He hit a jackpot with the subject. He will certainly make lots by selling it to a producer. But again, that’s not the point here. He touched the youth with his subject- Love, Ambition amidst corruption- Yeah Mr. Bhagat; I think this should have been your subtitle.
The book starts with Mr. Writer-Chetan Bhagat, addressing the students of GangaTech, the protagonist’s college (Really his? I will come to that later). Later they chat over drinks, where he pours his heart out to Bhagat.
The story principally focuses on three characters-Gopal Mishra, Aarti Pradhan and Raghav Kashyap, in Varanasi. The three are childhood friends. Not the best of friends though. I mean, I could say that for Gopal and Aarti, not for all three of them together.
Aarti’s dad Mr. Pradhan is the DM, and also her grandfather had been a reputed name in Varanasi for his political affiliations. Raghav also has rich parents to support his education. Who’s Left? Oh… yeah Gopal. Gopal is the poorest of all. He represents the youth of this nation. Small town brought-up, ambitious, struck by inferiority complex etc. Gopal lost his mother when he was barely 4 years old. His father was a small time school teacher. They had close to 15 acres of agricultural land on the outskirts of Lucknow which was never theirs legally-courtesy his greedy uncle. They barely were able to meet their ends meet.
Gopal’s father wants him to be an engineer. Why do parents have to force their kids to do things they don’t want to pursue? Expectedly, He fails the entrance to AIEEE and IIT JEE twice. He loses his father trust and also his father. Yes, his father dies when he is just about eighteen. Imagine a guy, who has no one now. But Gopal had no other option but to be strong. He decided he wanted to be rich, powerful and among the rich and powerful. After tripping the engineering entrance, he instead of joining a regular course, ventures to open a college of his own. You will need to read the book to know how he did that. I can’t give details here.
He uses the already existing corrupt system to his advantage, with the support of another corrupt and powerful politician-Shukla. While through all this, his relationship with Aarti and Raghav goes through different phases. He and Raghav always remain at logger heads. For two reasons:
- Raghav has Aarti -the girl whom he loved and wanted all his life.
- Raghav was always a better student.
Gopal always compared him to Raghav-financially and other wise and always found himself at a lower rank. Raghav was his competition. Raghav on the other hand represents the lesser known face of Indian Youth-Revolutionary. Wanting to change the system as reporter/journalists facing all the hardships he had to, but never to give up on his principles.
The best scene in the book is when; Gopal goes to Raghav’s dilapidated make-shift printing press to announce to him that he and Aarti have decided to become ‘two bodies one soul’. He also wanted to prove how supreme he has become over the past 4 years. However, Raghav’s goodness brings him down. Also he meets Keshav, a four year old boy. (Check the excerpts at the start of the post) He decides to move out of Aarti and Raghav’s life forever.
Over the next couple of weeks, he plans things such that, Raghav gets settled, back at his Newspaper-‘Dainik’. Aarti sees him naked on his own bed with 2 call girls, whom he hired, just so that Aarti would hate him for the rest of his life. Aarti and Raghav get married and Gopal watches this all from the 4th floor room of the same hotel, without anyone’s knowledge.
Gopal should be around twenty eight-twenty nine now. Director and operational head of GangaTech College; making crores, introducing newer courses every year. But he is an orphan now. He lost his mother when he was four, his father when he was eighteen and he kept on losing his real friends at every stage of his life.
But he is nice person. We all are No? I only can pray that Aarti and Raghav get to know about his sacrifice and have him back in their lives as a friend.
Also, take a bow Mr. Bhagat; you managed a gem this time.
In one of their animated conversation Aarti says to Gopal, “Life was so simple when we were young, why did we grow up?”
Is it that difficult?? Leave your comments below.