I am apalled by the magnitude of Chetan Bhagat haters swarming the Indian literary sphere. Now you may label me as the-dumfuck-guy-who-stereotypes-women but mostly it’s girls who flinch when you mention Chetan Bhagat as your favorite writer. They’ll look at you like you’re an amorphous mass of turd floating in a commode. It just kills all the prospects of an affair. It turns them off, completely and forever. However, follow them to a book fair, you would see how they nurse Fifty Shades of Grey in their hands. It makes me wonder how they judge a book. Maybe they just follow the trend, or pick it up from social media.
“Let’s see what’s happening. Everybody’s hating Chetan Bhagat. Yayy. Let’s do that too. ”
It doesn’t mean every girl hates him, or every girl who hates him is stupid. Because Doctor hates him too. And she isn’t stupid.
Anyway, I came across this when our newly hired, borderline pretty accountancy teacher brought forth this issue. One day, while encouraging us to read books, she categorically stated that Chetan Bhagat’s books shouldn’t come in your list. She pointed out that his books have grammatical errors and are cheap literature.
Now people, there’s a difference between pop fiction and 19th century classics, and also, there’s a difference between INFORMAL English and incorrect English. Before being published, every book goes through rounds of editing. And editors, who are usually English graduates, know what’s incorrect grammar and what’s not. They use software and their education to make sure there’s no error. And his target audience is youth, so expecting a Brontë masterpiece with pompous vocabulary would be unfair.
A lot of girls I’ve encountered on Facebook never texted me after they knew who I admired. Just mention Chetan Bhagat, and whooosshhh. They disappear.
There’s something you need to understand. There’s this word called ‘genre‘. If you don’t admire a particular genre, you won’t be able to relate with the book or understand it. Some people like thriller while some like mushy romance. Now a thriller maniac who assesses the book on the basis of its thriller content is an ass. His books aren’t supposed to give you intellectual orgasms. I don’t like fantasy, but labelling Harry Potter a piece of shit and JK Rowling as an incompetent writer would be unjust.
But Indians have a problem. They like to troll. They like to fake. They like to show off.
So even if you don’t have any special interest in YA genre, you have an opinion of Chetan Bhagat. He’s shallow, because he doesn’t use imagery and shit.
Well, these elite readers like to have magnificent vivid descriptions. But that’s not how a normal person behaves. I’m 18, and I don’t observe sunsets. When it’s cold I don’t feel the steely wind ripping through my chest, I feel my gonads freezing and my ass shivering. When I see a girl, I do not flip through Oxford dictionary in my mind to find gorgeous metaphors for her. I might just be watching her boobs, or the text on her tee. When I kiss, I’m not thinking about sparks or shivers or stars, I am thinking where the fuck to put my goddamn tongue.
Some people like descriptions. Even I like metaphor and imagery. I like the way Khaled Hosseini frames each of his sentences, beautifully sculpting them as if to embellish a greeting card. But sometimes, I want real shit. I want profanity. I want the language I can relate to. I want the characters who are flawed and stupid like me. I want a storytelling that doesn’t force me to consult dictionary.
He isn’t Dickens, but he has brought a significant change in youth. Those who follow him without a bias know that. And those who are jealous of his success bark.
Anyway, to all those people who judge Chetan Bhagat – don’t treat me like zamindars treated harijans in 19th century India when I say he is my favourite author.
He was. He is. And he will be.