What happened with me in last few months have kept me brimming with outrage over this new trend that has started in India. In my internship in Durgapur, West Bengal during the summer, I was a regular visitor at the Crosswords bookstore there. And I was appalled to see that nowadays all the major book retail chains across India have a special large section dedicated to “National Bestsellers”. And what do these ‘national bestsellers’ constitute? Pot-boilers, all stories invariably written about college life, romance, adolescent urges, crappy profs, booze, drugs, and ‘ye-dosti-hum-nahi-todenge’ stuff. Invariably, and without a single change, about these things. And what’s even worse, they are INVARIABLY (again) written by 20-somethings, who’ve completed their graduation(mostly engineers), or MBA and think they’ve ‘seen it all’ in their college life.
Damn! Chetan Bhagat has started a very horrific trend in India. I’ve seen some extremely rubbish novels in the National Bestseller section (one of them was named, Love Life and a Beer can) of Crosswords. Almost every damn graduate having grandiose dreams of being the next Chetan Bhagat, pours out his verbal diarrhea in novel form, and reputed publication houses like Rupa have gone on to the length of publishing ALL of these works. Most of them who think they’ve ‘been there, done that’, are those who’ve landed up good jobs after single-mindedly studying their way through 4 years of engineering without ever noticing a single girl or without ever getting high for a single time. Chetan Bhagat is one such prick.
Indian Publishing Industry and contemporary culture has gone to the dogs. The youth is not interested in what Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, Anita Nair etc are writing. No, they are more interested in the rocka-rolla life from authors who’ve never lived it, and sms lingo.
I am an IITian like Chetan Bhagat (but more like the 5-pointers he wrote about rather than he himself), and when I tell somebody about my writing aspirations, the first question they ask is: “Oh, like Chetan Bhagat?” Oh, how much my blood boils then…..
(An interesting story regarding this post: When this was first drafted, it was not even a blog-post. It was a comment :D. You can find it here. The blogpost by Sampada got me so worked up (as I had this thing going on in my mind for quite a while) that my comment got a bit ‘too’ long ;). Now as I looked at it again, I thought why not share it here on my space :). I could’ve made some more changes, and expanded it, but i guess i’m too lazy to do that )