Friday, 8 February 2013

55, Chetan Chhatwal

Pub Date:16 Nov 2012
Imprint:Random House India
Format:B format
Subject:General & Literary Fiction
Tried to picture myself in a shady second-rate college and realized that even thinking about it was difficult.’ Arjun Singh is a typical South Delhi brat whose biggest worry is securing a much-coveted seat in one of the city’s top colleges. But his ambitious plans come to a screeching halt when he scores a paltry ‘55’ in English in the board exams. Unable to meet the cut-off, Arjun is forced to take admission in a neighbouring second-grade college. Between grappling with his identity as a Sikh and facing repeated misfortunes in love, Arjun’s only solace is his three best friends from school who have also ended up in the same dump. What will happen to his future now? Witty, naughty, and plain irreverent, 55 is a delightful, mad caper about growing up and surviving three tumultuous years in the hallowed corridors of Delhi University.

my review-

The last thing that a 17 year old would want is to get into a very good college. They have this very wrong notion that a good college guarantees you a lifelong job to fetch you food. Arjun Singh wanted the same, to get into a good college that he believed would be his gateway to success. Unfortunately, he ends up in a second grade college which is far from meeting his expectations. He is not the only one though. It’s a group of three that have ended up right there, in the dump.

Now this is the kind of book I’ve always run away from. A plot set up in a college, teens trying to gain control over their new found freedom, failures, a rigmarole of teensy-weensy emotions. There is hardly any point in the whole book and yet you read them for no particular reason whatsoever. After five years of reading ( and 3 years of vigorous reading) what I feel is these are the kind of books you read while you’re on a long journey when you do not want to think but just read.

But yes, I was on no long trip and hence everything about it seemed pointless. The most vague part of the book was the title itself. 55? Who the hell names his book 55? It was solely because Arjun Singh secures 55 in his English paper and that goes on change his life. It was funny in a way, but it did not really appeal me to be honest. The cover has bright colors, and a man being the out-of-control Punjabi that they are with a signature punjabi gesture. The cover is quirky and will appeal to people who do like reads like this. A so-so book which I’d read just once and would be lying somewhere in my book shelf for a while and later I’d forget that I even owned a copy.
About The Author-
Chetan Chhatwal materialized in 1978, on a hot and sticky Delhi September evening. A somewhat obese but terribly cute baby, he has since grown into a pessimistic, neurotic, hypochondriac with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Born into a military family, he was raised in India where he spent his first twenty years. He has spent his last ten years in the UK working across consulting and investment banking. His degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science, and an MBA from London Business School have contributed towards his goal to eventually spend his life as an impoverished author. He is married to a beautiful but unfortunate woman who endures and encourages his flights of fancy. Chetan currently works as a management consultant in London, watches India’s progress from a distance, and writes a little bit on the side.


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