“You market yourself too much. You always speak only of your books”, questioned a 20 something girl to writer-banker Chetan Bhagat: A popular writer with two of his books already made into Bollywood movies and the remaining three to be made soon. Replying to the girl’s accusation the chubby writer said, “I have a booking of over Rupees Five Crore on Day 1. Why would I market my book so much?”
The girl with curly hair and wearing glasses, apparently from an upper-middle class family with a book and a notepad in hand asked Chetan about the quality of English he uses in his books- “Why do you use so simple English? You can do much better”, she insists. Chetan, just out of a session held at the Times Literary Carnival, 2011 in Mumbai was hauled by a handful of people while he was getting into his car. I got out of a workshop held at the same place sometime after the girl started questioning Chetan. Replying to the girls question about his English Chetan said, “Security guards, Watchmen, Auto-wallahs: These are the people who also read my books. I write mainly for them. A security person once came to me and said that he learnt English by reading my books.” He continues saying that he writes a column for India’s leading English Newspaper- The Times of India. “Why would The Times keep me if my English was bad? Not all the Indians are privileged to go to an English medium school like you. I write for them.”, he adds.
As Chetan was talking, young girls were asking him for autographs. He was even scribbling something ignorantly on their papers! A guy put his arms around Chetan’s shoulder and was asking him for a photograph while Chetan was busy arguing with that girl. That guy took 2-3 pictures till he was satisfied that both him and Chetan were clearly seen in the picture.
“Your book has typo-errors!”, asked the girl completely unsatisfied with Chetan’s latest bestseller: Revolution 20-20. Chetan said, “I read Godfather recently. Even that book had typo-errors. It’s not that we can’t afford editors. I had seven editors for 5 point someone (His first book): but errors are obvious when humans are involved. That’s not at all a problem.”
His secretary (apparently) interrupted him. She said that they were getting late. Chetan ignored her completely and continued arguing with that girl, “Why do you read my books then? I don’t have a problem. Don’t read my books. The problem is that you have trouble with my success. No one would have questioned me if I was not successful.” People applauded Chetan for this statement of his. Everyone clapped and took his side. A man said,”You are right Chetan. I am with you. I just loved Revolution 20-20.“ The guy who took a picture with him earlier said, “Why are you fighting for English, our national language is Hindi. Actually India is divided in two parts: India and Bharat.”
“I am just trying to bring India and Bharat together and I know that people will oppose me. I will continue what I am doing now. There are thousands of high-profile jobs in Banks now a days but I will continue to write for the people of India. You are small. You should change your attitude”, added Chetan and then left. The girl had her eyes almost full. She said,”You are very defendant.”
It is always a pleasure reading and listening to this guy. Love him or hate him: Hats off to Mr. Chetan Bhagat.