Top 10 Reasons Why IITians should Stop Writing Books

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Unpopular geeky boy. Checked. A girl from any campus, from any stream. Checked. Villainous parents. Checked. Random sexual encounters. Checked. A slight deviation from the above mentioned clichés here and there is possible but the overall scenario remains intact. Now that is what most IITians turned authors have to offer you in the name of a reading experience. I am sure that most of you are unaware about a number of these potboiler “Yash Raj-ish” book-scripts. Well, I too was in the dark about a number of such books before I started researching for the article. If you are wondering what I mean by an “Yash Raj-ish book-script”, read on to know why I accuse such novels of being a dummy for masala bollywood movies. Before I proceed, it is important to issue a disclaimer that this article does not intend to demean any institution or generalize perceptions. The only objective behind this piece of work is to highlight how some of these IITian authors churn out uninspiring and lackluster writing, leading to a deluge of such books in the market. So if you are one of those who likes to spend a 100 bucks for a Chetan Bhagat or a Ravinder Singh book, think twice before you lay your hands on them the next time you visit a bookstore. Listed below are 10 reasons why IITians should stop writing books. Grab a bucket of popcorn and read on.

 10. Because folks from every campus face the same hurdles

everyone faces the same hurdles

Falling in love is not an IIT-specific syndrome. It happens across the board. It strikes people in every campus in every continent and in every other mysterious way. So what is the novelty in a novel like Anything for you, ma’aam: An IITian’s love story? To be fair, there is nothing innovative or unusual in it. There is a protagonist who is a 3rd   year mechanical engineering student. He falls in love with a girl from Chennai and her parents are clueless about it (clueless? Oh yes…tell me what’s new about it). The boy’s professor tries to put hurdles in his path but he defies every trouble to meet his love. IIT-D graduate Tushar Raheja ends the story in typical bollywood style. So the question that arises is whether such a story can only be an IITian’s story or is it every Rahul, Rohan and Raj’s story. Even if the story was set in a Delhi University or a Calcutta University campus, there would not have been much of a difference.

9. Herd mentality and clichés

herd mentality and cliches

IIT-D graduate and best-selling novelist Chetan Bhagat attained success by capturing the imagination of many Indian readers. His success story prompted many other IITians to pursue the same route to fame. Hence, instead of coming up with new, fascinating ideas, they chose to carry forward the legacy with the jaded boy-meets-girl-romance and all other related campus troubles. It is high time for such writers to venture out into a new domain and beyond their comfort zone, if at all they take writing seriously. If they do not do so, it is better for them to stop writing books altogether and spare us the agony.

8. Books are not only masala

books are not only masala

In the context of gastronomy, too much intake of spice a.k.a masala has adverse effects on our health. In the same way, overdose of spice without any substantial content is an attack on our sensibilities. Here I would like to draw your attention on the analogy I had earlier drawn between a hindi movie and an IITian’s book. We all love to watch our larger-than life heroes beating up goons, singing songs and dancing atop the Alps but do we really need these potboilers to be repeated in a textual form? To be frank, it is a redundant exercise to try and adapt the ‘masala’ genre into books. We have had enough of the Dabanggs and the Singhams.

7. Love, lust and sex

love lust and sex

The boy meets the girl. Love at first sight. Lust at first sight is also a possibility. Then a couple of days are spent wooing her and boom, a few days later they hit the bed. The next 50 pages or so of the book are dedicated to their numerous sexual encounters at different places, under varied circumstances. The writers should therefore be asked to choose their genre decisively. If you are writing erotica, follow the genre and create something that suits the genre. The attempt to combine semi-porn with a family melodrama is a futile and wasted effort. In Chetan Bhagat’s 2 States, the hero finds frequent access to the girl’s hostel and eventually to his girlfriend’s room. The other Chetan Bhagat wannabe-s tread the same well-trodden path and even an aesthetic depiction of consummation between a couple finds no place in their books. It begins and ends with the line ‘And they had sex’.

6. Such books would get associated with Indian literature

such books would get associated with indian literature

The seeds of the rich legacy of Indian writing were sown by the likes of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and later on by renowned writers like R.K.Narayan, Ruskin Bond to the more recent ones like Amitava Ghosh, Salman Rushdie and Jhumpa Lahiri. If a reader shells out 200 or 300 bucks more than what he/she would spend on an IITian’s book, they would be gifted with an enthralling and exciting reading experience. It would be something that would take them on an edge-of-the-seat roller-coaster ride and provide them with fruitful insights. I happened to visit a bookstore a couple of days back and found the Indian bestseller section flooded with books by IITian authors with sub-standard content. To my extreme disappointment, I found Bhagat’s Five Point Someone in the Classics section. Going by that logic, the whole idea of a ‘classic’ takes a huge beating. To be fair, Chetan Bhagat is not an author whose books should be remembered and read for decades. Indian literature deserves a better face.

5. IITians should stick to what they are good at

stick to your domain

Studying a great deal to crack the IIT-JEE entrance exam and then going on studying to cope with the insurmountable pressure of exams. We, as readers and outsiders have got a glimpse of how difficult your life is. Our own social circle and Mr. Bhagat have done enough to throw light on the life of an IIT-ian and trust us when we say that we have had enough of the IIT life. I make a humble request to all those IITian authors and also the aspiring ones to concentrate on their jobs, careers and their machines. Writing is not your cup of tea and hence, you should aspire to be the pioneers of science and scientific revolutions. I am sure that if you put your intelligence and your knowledge into a domain that would serve humanity at large, instead of tormenting mankind with bad writing skills, we as Indians would be extremely proud of you.

4. Choose the language

choose your language

The one aspect that confounds readers of such books is whether it is an English language book or a hindi language book. Chunks of dialogues are written in hindi and to be precise in colloquial hindi. The IITians would vouch for such words as the writers may think that such an approach would make their books relatable and give it the IIT ‘feel and lingo’. In reality though, such an attempt to amalgamate two languages into one book and create an untidy mix n’ match shows how hard the author is trying to appear ‘cool’ and ending up with no presentable piece of work. If you want to flaunt your coolness, try writing a note on facebook if you want to but do not go ahead and publish a book.

3. Weird titles: *Oops I said that*

weird titles

A Guy Thing: A Magical Love Story by Suman Hossain (IIT-D), Love, Life and DreamOn: An IITian’s story of Romance by Animesh Verma, Anything for you ma’am: An IITian’s love story by Tushar Raheja, Now that You’re Rich…Let’s fall in love by Durjoy Datta, Oops ‘ I’ fell in love by Harsh Snehanshu, Jab se you have loved me and Jadoo of your love by S.R. Saha and The equation of my love by Vikram Rana . Do I actually need to elucidate upon how ridiculously cheesy the above mentioned book titles are? The only common word in all of the above mentioned titles is the magical word of ‘love’. So much ‘LOVE’ in fact makes us pukish and repulsive towards such books.

2. Grammar, anyone?

grammar anyone

Recently I happened to flip through a few pages of a book titled A Roller Coaster Ride.“The story is shown through the eyes of Maddy, a final year B.Tech student from IIT-Bombay, one of the most famous and prestigious institutes of technology in India. Maddy is quite different from his batchmates and seniors as he prefers chatting online with strange girls he meets through websites like Orkut and Yahoo, while staying away from boozing and hanging out with friends.” – Summary by Flipkart.com. This particular book is filled with terrible grammatical errors and seems like a shoddy work of a writer/editor, who seems to have been writing or editing the draft of the book while boozing or perhaps while chatting with random girls on social networking sites, just like the protagonist of the book. A writer is not known by his/her ability to appropriate jargons and colossal words in their work. Even using simple sentences, following basic grammar norms gives an edge to a book because eventually it is content that matters. The trend of writing in wrong grammar is not just restricted to the above mentioned book. If you do not care about grammar and proper use of the language, then keep yourself busy by flaunting your writing skills in facebook posts and SMSs.

1. Enough of the man perspective

enough of the man perspective

The most significant aspect of all such IIT-based books is that all of them have a man as the narrator/author. A number of these books give a detailed description of how the geeky boy or the relatively unorthodox flamboyant IITian fights his battles for degree, love, parents’ approval and jobs. The women in such stories act as fringe elements, only as a weapon for the boy/man to describe his journey of trials, tribulations and growing up. In a couple of these books, women are often portrayed as somebody who would go after an IITian just because of his IIT tag. Some of these girls/women are often shown to be ditching the IITian boys for several reasons, in order to create a sympathetic vibe among the readers for the jilted romeo.

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28 Comments

  1. AYA

    December 17, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    unfortunately dis post is an outburst against ur own failure to get in2 IITS…

    • Rupsha Mukherjee

      December 18, 2013 at 11:22 am

      A disclaimer has been issued in the introduction itself.It is not against any institution.Humour should be treated like humour and getting personal is not an option.Nevertheless,thank you for the observation.

      • Santhosh Kudva

        November 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm

        your disclaimer counts to nothing if you dont mean it. almost everyone here feels it is a case of sour grapes.

  2. Sameer

    December 19, 2013 at 3:08 am

    Great article. I would suggesting toning it down though, cause even though you present several valid points, it has become a bit of a rant. Things like “IITans should stick to what they are good at” are unnecessary and mean. This is a free country, people have the right to write and publish a book, it is your choice to buy it or not, and do not blame publishers or authors for making books in a genre that clearly has a huge demand and appeal amongs’t Indian readers.

    Instead, talk about how ‘good’ Indian literature manages to be more enriching than these kind of books. Explain how a Ruskin Bond novel can evoke memories for places you have never actually been to, but you could swear you have cause they are so well described and animated in the text. Jhumpa Lahiri and her books could be used as another example – Her book “The Namesake” follows the life of Gogol, a young 2nd generation Indian American, as he struggles to cope up with life. It has the pathos that is so unique in books about young men in the cusp of adulthood (I am thinking Catcher In The Rye and Murakami), and has enough sex scenes to satisfy even the most juvenile of Indian readers.

    Recommend how we can better ourselves, don’t reprimand us. :)

    • Rupsha Mukherjee

      December 19, 2013 at 6:34 am

      The way you have analysed the entire post shows that you have gone through it in detail, so thank you for that.I think you have given some good suggestions but this article was about IITians .So i would prefer a separate article to elucidate upon the works of a Jhumpa Lahiri or a Salman Rushdie perhaps.Thanks for the feedback.

      • hardika dayalani

        December 20, 2013 at 8:00 am

        I have to agree with Sameer. I agree with what you’re saying generally and I feel your acute pain in point 6, Rupsa but point 5 is down right mean. You’re behaving as if people like Sandipan Deb don’t even exist.

        Also the article sounds like whatever you’re saying is so obvious that it needs no elucidation. That brings a certain arrogance to your tone and makes it sound like a rant. Frankly your article would also fit nicely in the “FB note to appear cool” category.

        The point of the article should be to convince someone who likes these books that they are pointless. This is why talking about good literature – indian or otherwise – is important. A fun idea would be to find a 5 instances that describe similar situations in IITian Novels and a literary work of some repute and excerpt them. Don’t you think?

  3. Swarnadeep

    December 19, 2013 at 5:14 am

    Maybe the author should stick to what she’s good and stop writing this nonsense. This entire article can be rewritten in just 5 lines. Maybe she had to use a minimum number of words to get this published; and hence she dragged this like writing a WBUT answer.

  4. Swarnadeep

    December 19, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Lol and they can’t even keep my comments,

    Wasted my morning on this.

  5. Raghu

    December 19, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Sorry, but have to disagree here. A free market is a free market: people will buy what they want to buy. If the supply of “great” books is limited (and of course, when I write “great” I am going by what you judge as being a “great” book) then the market will buy “sub-par” books. At least IITians are writing books, and they are being sold; otherwise, you wouldn’t have an article to write 😉

    It might seem just a bit preposterous- but perhaps, instead of bashing ITTians who write and sell books that people WANT to buy, you should spend your time writing articles to encourage non IITians to write books? *food for thought*

  6. Vishnu Swaroop

    December 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Was Waiting for something like this for long! kudos!

    And 2 things my dear author of the article:

    1)That is Amitav Ghosh not Amitava Ghosh.

    2) Please be aware of the intensity and beauty of the so called ‘Regional language’ writings too. There are writers far greater than Rushdie or Lahiri, not even half as famous as them just because they are writing in the so called ‘Bashas’.

  7. Sairam Subramanian

    December 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    While I am not a chetan Bhagat fan – Bottom line – i have read some of his books and I enjoyed reading them. Same goes with millions of people around the world. Job well Done! on the other hand your article was painful to read :) So I guess you now know who should stop writing!

  8. Ritwik

    December 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    If I think about this article, I feel the one line which summarizes this article is “IITians should stick to what they are good at”. Forget IITians, that’s the worst advice to any person living on earth. If by “being good at” writing novel means choosing literature stream for undergrad, saying “have read” to any book title your friend throws at you, being the prize winner for all the essay competitions etc, then I’m sorry, maybe you can argue against it, but you’ve learned too much to ever reinvent yourself. Maybe if your ideas had their way, no engineer would ever do anything but work on machines, no non-programmer would ever write code and by that logic no person would ever be allowed to experiment and fail in something he didn’t do for his first 25-30 years. To me it sounds as regressive as the old caste system where people were told to “stick to what you’re good at” and it eventually lead to a societal schism which stayed for centuries. May your ideas stay in your mind and never convince anyone to join your cause.

    These are the days when people talk about empowering non-programming population with programming knowledge, hacks and tricks (to which many industrial level programmers would cringe at) so that they can use it for a cause non typical for a seasoned programmer. You’re so unwelcoming towards newbie/wannabe authors that I think maybe you need to learn to see value in experiments. I would encourage you to do something you’re not good at.

  9. Krish

    December 19, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Not sure how many men/boys read these books, but Ive seen women and young girls go gaga over these.

    Probably tell them to stop fantasizing IITians … everyone has sex and falls in love (not necessarily in that order). Big deal.

  10. frankness

    December 20, 2013 at 5:52 am

    @ author: all this bitterness, “iitians should stick to what they are good at”, “enough of the man perspective”, dear you just need a hug…

  11. bedcoffee

    December 20, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Well, some points make sense to everyone, not just IITians, but just because someone is IITian, he/ she shouldn’t be judged, what if he/she posses a knack for some good stuff?

    Please don’t stereotype people, these people you mentioned are just few among many other IITians, and there are some of them for whom literature is second only to breathing.

    It’s as absurd as saying all non- IITians are dumb.
    I hope you take it positively.

  12. Raja Ambrish

    December 20, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Some of the points stated are valid enough ! but the way it has been presented & written ;its really annoying,and forces me to write this . I guess you should first review your own writing before reviewing others.
    1) I have known some of the above writers.They have even accepted that their piece was not that well written. But, not much can be expected from a 19 yr old writing his first book. Few of them have left their jobs to pursue their career in this field. Now, can you imagine that when years of their hard work was about to reap; they left it to pursue their interest in writing. They may not be the best ; but they are trying hard to be ! Why to point fingers at people , when they are still trying ?. Everyone starts from Ground Zero.
    2) As a writer you must know, that writing a single line “I dnt mean to demean…….” doesn’t work. If that’s what you wanted this article could have been written in a better way.
    3) ‘Folks from every campus face the same hurdles,herd mentality,masala’.. So,let everyone write ; and let every publisher publish them. Nobody, made you a whistle blower. It’s a free market, Let people write what they want and read what they wish to.
    4) No body made you the torch bearer for Indian literature. Nobody starts reading a Salman rusdie’s Novel. Such books have aroused the interest of reading into many and now they have moved into reading books of Rushdie and Ghosh. Each product has its value in free market..!
    5) ‘IITians should stick to what they are good at’ ? What was that ? There are better ways to take out your frustration.
    6) Weird Titles : Its the writer wish; in whichever way he wants to market his book.

    Rather than such a weird title and content ; If you had a generic title and a optimistic way to present the same, it would have been much better.

  13. Rupsha Mukherjee

    December 20, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Firstly, This post seems to have created a bit of a flutter. Have received positive and negative feedbacks( both over here and on my facebook handle) and i acknowledge both.Some of the respondents here have gone lengths to make personal remarks and providing some advice as well. Constructive criticism, on valid grounds, is welcome, not some vague bashing.A bit of surfing on the credentials of the author too has been done. Yes, I am a student of literature and was never an IIT aspirant ( This is to all those who questioned my motives).It is not a battle between IITians and Non-IITians, so chill :-)

    Secondly,The point about ‘IITians sticking to what they are good at’ seems legit keeping in mind the monotonous content they are coming up with year after year. The saddest thing in a literary space is stagnation.The publishing houses are to be blamed as well for this trend.This article is in no way against IITians or about their bad writing skills ( Some of them took things as a personal attack and attack on an institution).There may be credible writers among IITians, hope to see such people publishing books in the near future, so that as readers we don’t have to see the ‘Jadoos and Nashas of love’ being flashed across bookstores.

    Thirdly,to those well-wishers and readers of such books, if you don’t challenge and expect your favourite author to improve as a writer, then a status quo is maintained and unfortunately, that is a sad trend as far as indian literature is concerned.Thank you.

    • Raja Ambrish

      December 20, 2013 at 8:20 am

      It was never personal or btwn IITians & Non-IItians (the line of difference is thin enough and the roads ahead long enough to discriminate at such a stage). I wrote so much just to make you realize what it feels when people criticize in such a way or you can say it was an emotional outburst. All i wanted to convey was though your points where valid,things could have been put in a better way !.. :)

    • Aryan

      March 5, 2014 at 5:52 am

      You are right Rupsha, in all that is stated though a few things may seem to be repeated here and there.

      Point no. 6 is most valid with point 2 being the big reason.

      Point 7 is just always included to hike up sales of below average literature, aiming mainly at adolescents and young males which we have aplenty; besides always showing the young female characters as nitwits or cold scheming girls ever ready to sleep with the hero.

      Plus there seems to be no proper study or research of things, places included in such books. Aptly called pulp fiction, meant to be pulped.

  14. Fiction India

    December 20, 2013 at 9:07 am

    One of the top sellers of 2013 is ‘The jadoo of your love,’ by an IITian.

    http://www.amazon.in/The-Jadoo-Your-Love-Again/dp/9382665005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387530435&sr=8-1&keywords=jadoo

  15. dilraj pillai

    December 20, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Believe me the author of this article is a looser and some publisher must have rejected to publish her work !!!! 😛 and preferred an IITians work over her ; so she is taking out her grudge on chetan bhagat and other authors !!!!!

    better raise you standards aunty then pin pointing iitian authors !!! because chetan writes from readers perspective and doesen’t use complex words so that mass like us can love it .

    IItian/engineer can be an author but you can’t never be an engineer ; lol 😛

    Got it Ms. Unsuccessfull rupsha mukherjee

    i know baby ; you are craving for same fame what chetan got by publishing these foolish articles but believe me you won’t !!!

    and nw you will delete the comment 😛

  16. piyush verma

    December 20, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    a deep grudge against an IITian. checked. narrow mindedness and cynical mentallity. checked. desperation and frustration. checked.

    Dear author, there are better ways to vent out your frustration. Before criticizing those young writers, who are, atleast, trying to express their experiences in a positive way, you should probably learn to criticize and comment on somebody’s hard work. Nobodys forcing you to read those books, they are already being read and loved in enormous amount, no matter what they write about, be it sex or love or common campus issues. Everybody has a different taste for literature, of course you are free to give your views but its apparent from the way you express yourself that you are striving to manipulate people for what they should read and what kind of books they should choose. well, let the readers decide on that. Perhaps you should write a book and we’ll see how much justice you do to all those classic writers you have mentioned. Relax. chill. Read a good book, preferably chetan bhagat’s, it will calm you down a bit. 😀

  17. neilghosh

    December 21, 2013 at 4:22 am

    Great article, I have been thinking about this lately, Nicely put into words. Not Just IITs , there kind of junk titles are everywhere these days. Sad to see this trend.

    • Rupsha Mukherjee

      December 21, 2013 at 6:18 am

      Thank you. It is also sad to see some blind followers going to the extent of undermining every sense of dignity and decorum and shooting the messenger. I feel that is a more dangerous trend :-)

  18. Rajat Singh

    December 22, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Read some good newspapers people. It would do a lot of good to everyone. >_<

  19. Critic

    December 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    A recurring theme in all the reasons given above seems to be you being dead set on stereotypes and cliches about IITians. Instead of being a clear,objective article about “Why IITians should stop writing books”,if at all they should, you sound like a jilted IIT reject with your reason number 5. This sucks for you, since you have valid and good reasons like 6 and 9, but the state of mind gleaned from this article reflects just the type of posts people from Tier-II and III colleges whine about on FB,like ‘IITians’ inability to be all-rounders or cool or basically anything superior’. Not that non-IITs are bad college, but you can’t blame the IITians for that or anything else. Just my thought on how this sounds to any impartial reader.

    Reasons like 4,3,7 are plain ridiculous. What do you expect a just graduated student to write about, Life lessons spanning decades? Of course they write about love lives or their fantasies. Since the books are purportedly based on their own lives,OBVIOUSLY i would be about their overcoming their adversity and obviously every other character is secondary, INCLUDING the ‘girlfriend’,etc. That’s really not something to whine about, and certainly not something like the titles of the books. They are not India’s Nicholas Sparks’ yet, and as everyone knows,they try to cater to the commercial element in the country and that means silly and cachy titles. Considering a few dozens of IITians out of several thousands write(or try to) novels, herd mentality is atmost a temporary problem and is the availabilty of cliches to write about. But that’s unimportant, considering that this whole article is based on ‘the uncool IITian’ cliche. It just bugs me that IITians are considered incoplete in areas of art and liberal sciences and humanities,knowing so many sophisticated friends from IITs myself.

    Finally, rest assured, no self-respecting reader(domestic o foreign) will base his knowledge of Indian literature based on the availability of a few trending,popular,commercial books. It takes more than that to change the perception about a whole country’s literary ability.

    Good Day
    P.S: I am not an IITian but I’m so bugged seeing articles like this becoming weapons of ridicule against IITians on the social media.

  20. true indian

    February 9, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Wow..cool article..though this is published long back, but I got to read it today.. anyways, your observations are perfect…even I was also thinking the same after reading almost all the books which you have mentioned here..and got fed up of same “concept” in every book, i.e. love and sex…boring indeed…!!..on top of it, these writers getting so much praise, seems like such story is gaining popularity due to the “concept” only and while the real adventure scripted in so many other books by other great writers fail to come into notice..had bhagat not started writing such books, youngster would have still be reading good books that gives knowledge and thrilling experience…and above all those commentators here say “its the choice of the readers” is completely indigestible and unacceptable…if any writer is supposed to write a book, such “concept” should be less interesting and rest of the real content should be prominent – to reduce the “sexual mindedness” among the readers…hope such publishers and even writers come up in future…

  21. sonal shriwant

    March 3, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    You reciprocated my thoughts to some extent. Every time I go to book store I find this iitian love stories listed in best seller section. Don’t they find any other subject to write ? This kind of things happens to most of us and I am in no mood to read another repetitive love story.

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