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One Night at the Call Center by Chetan Bhagat

The Book:

Source for ‘The Book’ section : From Goodreads
Press 1 for technical support.
Press 2 for broken hearts.
Press 3 if your life has totally crashed. . . .

Six friends work nights at a call center in India, providing technical support for a major U.S. appliance corporation. Skilled in patience–and accent management–they help American consumers keep their lives running. Yet behind the headsets, everybody’s heart is on the line.

Shyam (Sam to his callers) has lost his self-confidence after being dumped by the girl who just so happens to be sitting next to him. Priyanka’s domineering mother has arranged for her daughter’s upscale marriage to an Indian man in Seattle. Esha longs to be a model but discovers it’s a horizontal romp to the runway. Lost, dissatisfied Vroom has high ideals, but compromises them by talking on the phone to idiots each night. Traditional Radhika has just found out that her husband is sleeping with his secretary. And Military Uncle (nobody knows his real name) sits alone working the online chat.

They all try to make it through their shifts–and maintain their sanity–under the eagle eye of a boss whose ego rivals his incompetence. But tonight is no ordinary night. Tonight is Thanksgiving in America: Appliances are going haywire, and the phones are ringing off their hooks. Then one call, from one very special caller, changes everything.

Chetan Bhagat’s delicious romantic comedy takes us inside the world of the international call center, where cultural cross-wires come together with perfect pathos, hilarity, and spice.

The View:

I have been meaning to read a Chetan Bhagat novel after watching the Indian movie ‘3 idiots’ based on his other work ‘Five Point Someone’. I enjoyed the movie tremendously and added a few of his books to my TBR pile. This week I finally got to one of them.

The story as the title suggests revolves around six call center agents who spend a single night at work. They all have their unique life problems starting from broken relationships, mother-in-law inconveniences, aspiring career dreams and even marriage plans. Apart from their individual problems they also have a bigger problem at work in the name of Bakshi – a shrewd and disgusting manager. On this fateful night they decide to break a call center rule causing them to get the life changing call from God Himself.

The read was definitely interesting and I finished the book quicker than anticipated. The characters were all charming and told their stories fairly well. Their problems were very similar to what we would see in our day-to-day interactions with friends and family in India and I could relate to all of them. Bakshi was a disaster and yet added a lot of interest to the plot. I think the entire episode would not have turned out as genuinely as it did if it had not been for him.

The writing was mediocre but the story-telling was excellent. I felt that there was a lot of stereotyping when it came to some of the characters specially the women and did not like it one bit. Also Vroom’s comments on the life that the call center folks live in India did not go down too well with me. The comments on Americans and the general view on America does not depict an entire nation’s thoughts and for that reason should have been handled in a more subtle fashion. Rated a 3 on 5.



3 Responses

  1. yaaar koi chhoti summary h kya ??

  2. Where did you read it on line.. 🙂

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