Top 10 Reasons Why IITians should Stop Writing Books
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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*
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?
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
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.