India has seen many esteemed writers coming out and showcasing the different levels of their creativity but hardly anyone had an impact on the youth like Chetan Bhagat. A country that was once considered to be a non-starter in reading books now craves for good content and the established writer has had a huge role to play in this transformation. Here’s a look at his journey including his days spent in school and college.
Writing a joke in school
Born in 1974 into an upper-middle-class family in Delhi, his father was a decorated army officer and mother, a government employee. He completed his schooling from The Army Public School situated in the Dhaula Kuan region of the Capital. He was an average student for the majority of his school life and had never thought of becoming a writer in future. Chetan had a shy nature and would keep a safe distance from co-curricular activities. He wouldn’t take part in any sorts of competitions. Once, in the fifth standard, he was forced to write a joke for the school magazine by his teacher. Though uninterested, he didn’t have the option to say no. He prepared and submitted it after which the joke was published in the magazine. To his surprise, the sight of his name in print form left an unforgettable impression in the kid’s memory and he would see it time and again thereby increasing his curiosity about more such tasks.
College and the subsequent job
He did his B.Tech in Mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Delhi (IIT-D) and used to stay in the Kumaon hostel of the institute. Given the importance of studies, he had become a good student as compared to what he was during his school time. Nonetheless, he was mischievous and impish as well, just like any other undergraduate student. He spent memorable days at his hostel and made many amazing friends some of whom remain in his go-to list to date. After getting his bachelor’s degree in 1995, Chetan did an MBA in marketing from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA). He studied well and received the Best Outgoing Student award in his batch. After finishing his MBA in 1997, he landed a job in Peregrine Investments Holdings in Hong Kong through campus placement.
Following his passion
Throughout his college journey, he felt an inclination towards writing but could not think of it as more than a hobby. He started working as an investment banker in Goldman Sachs and this was the time when he started writing his first novel, Five Point Someone. He would work at the office and also write his novel. He prepared draft after draft and didn’t stop until the best version was written. It was not until 2004 that he was able to publish his debut novel that went on to become a bestseller. The novel was rejected by many publishers who didn’t find it engaging enough but when it was finally published after a two-year wait and struggle, it went on to become a bestseller. By the time he shifted to India from Hong Kong, Bhagat already had 2 best-selling novels to his name. The other one being One night @ the Call Center. He was working as an investment banker in Deutsche Bank in Mumbai when his third novel, The 3 mistakes of my life, was published. It also became a bestseller. Chetan had to put in a lot of effort to manage to work at the office and writing novels at the same time. It was due to his sheer determination and hard work that he succeeded in his task and achieved what he has today. In 2009, he finally took writing as a full-time career and quit his job as an investment banker. Many of his books have been adopted as successful Hindi films. Here’s a list of his amazing literary work in fiction for which he sacrificed a lucrative job and a successful career-
- Five Point Someone (2004): Set up in the backdrop of an IIT campus, the book narrated the story of three friends, Ryan, Alok and Hari. The story displayed many loopholes the Indian education system contains entertainingly. The evergreen blockbuster, 3 idiots, is based on this novel.
- One Night @ The Call Center (2005): Here, the story revolves around six employees of a call centre each going through a tough phase in life. In an extraordinary chain of events, the characters receive a phone call from god. It was also adopted into a Hindi film, Hello.
- The three mistakes of my life (2008): The book follows the lives of three friends, Ish, Omi and, Govind. It is a novel blended with the dark issues of real-life namely, religion, politics, riots, etc. This was also made into a film called Kai Po Che.
- 2 States (2009): The storyline follows the struggle of two lovers, who come from different states of India, in convincing their parents for their marriage. The Hindi film Two States was based on this very novel.
- Revolution 2020 (2011): It is based on the modern way of doing corruption, through coaching institutes. The story blends love, corruption, and ambition to make an interesting plot about the contrasts in the Indian Education system.
- Half Girlfriend (2014): It is a love story of a rural boy and a modern girl with a lavish lifestyle. It depicts the struggle of a guy who does not have a stronghold on the English language. A movie of the same name was released in 2017.
- One Indian Girl (2016): It is the story of an Indian girl who doesn’t fit into the stereotypical image of an Indian Girl. It focuses on the idea of not restricting women to the confines of traditional and orthodox shackles.
The Girl in Room 105 (2018): This is the first murder mystery by Chetan Bhagat where a guy finds her ex-girlfriend dead in her hostel room. He then manages to work with the investigating officer of the case to unravel the truth.