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Five Point Someone
|by G Swaminathan|
So IIT scholars proved one more point; these guys in addition to being cerebral and earning millions in the US or Hong Kong can write novels also! Chetan Bhagat, an alumni of Delhi IIT had successfully churned out a quite an engaging novel 'Five Point Someone'. The ambience is IIT campus of Delhi with three 'bright' guys who enter the most prestigious institution to found actually they are not that 'bright' to be the front liners. So they secure the GPA five points something, which are pretty low. But the narrator Hari, his friends Ryan and Alok try their luck to improve their grade in different ways only to end up every time in a mess.
Of the three, the story is narrated in first person by Hari, who is not that attractive, but smart enough guy to befriend the Head of the Department's daughter. Ryan Oberoi the handsome dude, though full of creativity, wealth, style and ideas seldom has any romantic liason. Alok is a fatso and glutton and positively irritating.
Chetan Bhagat deals with these three friends who were below average guys among the creme of knowledge. It directly as well as indirectly discusses the grim side of the IIT education system, which is lauded by the elite. The disdain of the three protagonists could be the experiences of several students who have some how passed out of several IITs. Chetan Bhagat's characterization fit the character of the present day youth most aptly; the intelligence, indifference, irreverence, irresponsibility, irritating traits all could be seen through Ryan, Hari and Alok.
It is more of reminiscences than a story. There are incidents that reveal the characters and for the sake of climax the trio indulge in a sort of dare devil and idiotic theft of the major question paper from the HOD's room where they are caught red handed. As expected all ends well with a few more minor twists and turns as anticipated. The romantic angle is provided by Hari's friendship to Neha, the HOD's daughter. Neha also belongs to the new era liberated female and does not mind having sex with her boyfriend. Mind that her dad is averse to even talking to boys.
Bhagat's narrative is racy with several punch lines, lucid and simple. We have a lot of 'fuck', 'screw' and 'crap' etc. uttered by the IITian ad nauseam. Even the most serious scenes there are undercurrents of hilarity and sarcasm.
The novel closes with an open ending. But one cannot be sure whether the student life is for 'enjoyment of freedom' or 'labor for academics'. Even the oration of Professor Cherian at the convocation on how one should lead a student life turns out to be the dream of Hari. So it could only be a dream! Probably symbolism! It is also a moot point that whether enjoyment in student life is related to smoking pot, drinking vodka or listening to Pink Floyd. 'Screwing' is left to Hari only and the other two were virgins till the end!
The readers' vocabulary may be enriched with terms like insti, prof, muggings, fatso, cog etc. exclusive to IITians.
The novel stands out because the ambience is unusual, characters are close to genuine and incidents oscillate between real and absurd. Bhagat intelligently takes every engineering student down the memory lane. Situations might not have been the same for every one; nevertheless, like Hari wishes to be Ryan, even for the nine pointers the narrated lives of five point someone would have been a wish unfulfilled.
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