Book of the Month (January) #2: Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat

3 Idiots

The movie 3 Idiots (starred by Amir Khan, R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi) was inspired by this book. I know 3 Idiots was an adaptation of a novel, my housemate at Intec told me that but I never know what novel it was (forgetting the existence of Wikipedia) until a couple of months back. Few months later, I finally have the book and officially finished reading it just now around 10.30am!

3 Idiots inspired me so much and it’s one of the very few movies I watch more than once – so yes, it’s that good. We all know that if a movie is adapted from a novel, the book would almost always be better. We have Matilda, Harry Potter and a lot others to prove that. So I thought –  if 3 Idiots can inspire me that much, then Five Point Someone should be able to blow my head off.

Who’s Chetan Bhagat?
Chetan Bhagat is a 39 year old Indian writer and motivational speaker. He authored six bestselling novels:
Five Point Someone (2004)
One Night @ the Call Center (2005)
The 3 Mistakes of my life (2008)
2States (2009)
Revolution 2020 (2011)
What Young India Wants (2012)

Five Point Someone (5PS)

So I’ll write on what I expected from the book, what I felt reading it, what the book is about and how I felt after finishing it.

I wanted to be inspired. I find inspiration everywhere, from everything around me – that’s just how I am and that’s why I love autobiographies and self-help books. I tell myself that I live in the present because there might not be a tomorrow. If today is my last day what am I going to do? I believe in Allah so I believe in hereafter. So if today is THE DAY, I want to make sure my ‘ibadah is perfect for my Lord, whatever I do is for Him alone and that I constantly have Him in my mind that when my soul leaves my body He is the one I’ll be thinking of.

Do I believe in miracles? Yes -because I believe in Allah. Now, don’t go around manipulating my sentence about magic and all. You see, Allah’s here – close to me. Whenever I don’t feel right, I’ll pick up the Quran, close my eyes and let it work its magic. Let Allah talk to me. I would simply flip the pages of the holy Quran, choose one verse and try to understand it (through its translation). 

Now back to 5PS

As I read the book, I got excited at the similarities it had with 3 Idiots but trust me, it is also very very different. Bhagat’s words were his message. It’s more real than 3 Idiots and that’s what I like about 5PS. It’s realistic, not typical, not cliche and that’s the thing that stopped me from keeping the book away (Although I had the book for months already – exams was near then so I had to stop after the first few chapters and had just started reading it back this week). And no, not cliche doesn’t always means good – but this one is.

The book.

Instead of using the 3 characters from the book, I’ll use the names from 3 Idiots. Why? I don’t know. I like comparing the two I guess? This is somewhat a spoiler and you shouldn’t be reading this if you plan to read the book – unless you’re like me. I like to know about the books/movies I’m gonna watch so that I wouldn’t be disappointed with the story line? Not that I like to know the ending beforehand but I need to know about the story, although most of the times I’ll end up not reading/watching since I read the whole plot from Wiki already. But that also means that the movie is not worth my time. The really good movies are the ones that I still wanna watch after knowing half the story. Weird – I know.

Remember Farhan Qureshi, Raju Rastogi, and Rancchoddas “Rancho” Shyamaldas Chanchad from 3 Idiots? Yup these trios are in the book too, with loose similarities.

The book was written from the point of view of Hari, one of the 3 main characters in the book. He’s the one telling us the story like Farhan did in 3 Idiots.

Madhavan = Farhan = Hari
Sharman = Raju = Alok
Amirkhan = Rancho = Ryan

Just like in the movie, Raju/Alok is the scare cat – has a father who is down with stroke, a mother who complains about everything and a sister who needs to get married soon. However, unlike the movie, it’s not Farhan/Hari who loves doing something else but takes up engineering anyway – it’s Alok. He loves painting and he’s in fact very good at it. But after his father was bedridden, he had to aim for a job that pays him good money. He was the hardworking one and he scored the highest among the three. Logic. I like. And in the end, he is most successful one.

Ryan is similar to Rancho in only one thing – he blames the system, is very innovative and thinks out of the box .. like all the time! And you know what, I love him more than I loved Amir Khan in the movie! Why? Because this character is way more realistic than Rancho. Ryan is the son of a rich couple who “abandons” him at boarding school at a tender age of 6. He has this love-hate relationship with his parents and his friends are his everything. Ryan blames the system saying it’s enslaving them, forcing them to mug in information and puke them out during exams. He wants to live life and not spend his years mugging and regretting only after those years are gone. He went on propagating his “ideology” to the other two and brought them “down” with him. See, he didn’t study for the sake of studying and so he didn’t get good marks. He studied certain subjects that he is really interested in and screws the rest – unlike Rancho who plays around and is still the smartest. Ryan is different, he never cares about grades/GPAs. Of course, he showed some sign of remorse when they scored less than average – 5 point something out of 10. He worked on a project (some stuff he was creating) and that’s when he was shown as focused and driven and not with his usual I-dont-give-a-damn attitude. This shows that he is a smart person – he creates (apparently that’s what they all should be doing, as he claims) and when he is doing what he likes, he couldn’t care less about anything else. He didn’t get a job even after going for various interviews (Hari and Alok got it after their first try) but he ended up with one he loves the most, though the money is nothing compare to what the other two are getting.

Hari is the one who gets the professor’s daughter (not like in the movie where everything good only happens to Rancho). Nothing much about Hari except that he idolises Ryan, loves Neha and suck at vivas.

The story is about their friendship and their life at IIT, from day one to graduation.

Should you read this book?

Depends.

If you’re the kind of person who is into this whole “live life at the moment” and “do what you love” and “grades doesn’t matter” , then you should. I love this book, totally!

As embarrassing as it is, I have to admit that I love medicine but probably not everything about it and so I’m just an average student. I don’t “sacrifice” all my time to mugging. I study for exams (well I’m not as extreme as Ryan is) but things get into my head easier when I’m not reading for exams – you know how exams get to you, with the anxiousness and all. I love reading medicine when remembering isn’t a MUST. When it’s implied that I must remember it, it’ll be the very thing that I’ll forget. But, I’m not a genius so enjoying what you’re learning does not translates to good results – just an okay one.

I want to be a good doctor and that hasn’t change. You don’t define good doctors by their grade, do you?

I take online courses. I read everything I love and I write freely without worrying about what others might think about my writing. I say “bring it on” to anything that fears me. And as much as I hate getting mediocre results, my life years are too precious to be spent mugging mindlessly stuffs that I probably would forget by the time I graduate. Plus, in the end, you just have to know the 3 most common causes of the symptoms (you patients come with) – the other 22 causes can be looked up when the main 3 have been ruled out. And don’t try to fool me saying you’re not gonna forget those things ‘cuz you got to be kidding me if you think so.  No, it’s not wrong wanting to be good at medicine but trust me, medicine is more than mugging and good results. Medicine is.. (that’s another post)

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