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Monday, December 19, 2005

Deja Vu @ the Call Centre

Anthony's post led to the acquisition of this book. Coincidentally purchased when fanatics were bursting bombs elsewhere in Delhi. Chetan Bhagat's second coming - One Night @ the Call Centre (Rupa & Co. Rs. 95) is nothing much to write about, even 50 days post reading. But there were parts, which stayed. Not for any literary brilliance but déjà vu.



Yes, you see it in the movies, you hear it from friends' friends but it never happens to you.When I was younger, I used to look at the reservation chart stuck outside my train bogie to check out all the female passengers near my seat (F-17 to F-25 is what I'd look for most). Yet, it never happened. In most cases I shared my compartment with talkative aunties, snoring men and wailing infants.


When girls call a guy 'teddy bear' they just mean he is a nice guy but they will never be attracted to him. Girls may say they like such guys, but teddy bears never get to sleep with anyone. Unless of course their moms hunt the neighbourhood for them.


'We get paid well, fifteen thousand a month. F**k, that is almost twelve dollars a day. Alas, I make as much a day as a US burger boy makes in two hours. Not bad for my college degree. Not bad at all. F**king nearly double of what I made as a journalist anyway.'


Settled? The words rewound and repeated itself in my head several times. What does it mean anyway? Just someone rich, or someone who gets predictable cash flows at the end of every month. Except parents do not say it that way because it really sounds like they're trading their daughter to the highest bidder. But in some ways they are. They do not give a damn about love or feeling or crap like that. 'Show me the money and keep our daughter for the rest of your life.' That is the arrangement of arranged marriage.


Now this is something women never have to deal with: standing next to your boss in the toilet as he pees is one of the world's most awkward situations. What are you supposed to do? Leave him alone or give him company and entertain him? Is it okay to talk to him while he is doing his business or not?


Not because they are better people. But because their country is rich and ours is poor. That is the only damn reason.


... 'life gets to you. You think you are perfectly happy - you know. good salary, nice friends, life is a party - but all of a sudden, in one little snap, everything can crack, like this stupid pane of the Xerox machine.'


I am constantly amazed at the ability of women to calm down. All they need to do is talk, hug and cry out for ten minutes - and then they can face any of life's crap.


Apart from blonde threesomes, I think hitting your boss is the ultimate male fantasy.


How did women manage before mirrors were invented?


'An air-conditioned sweatshop is still a sweatshop. In fact, it is worse, because nobody sees the sweat. Nobody sees your brain getting rammed,' ...


We passed by several advertising hoardings showing all kinds of people: a couple all smiles because they had just bought a toothbrush ... a young graduate jumping with joy, clutching a credit card ... All the ads had one thing in common. Everyone looked incredibly happy.


What is it about music that it makes you remember things you prefer to forget.


'Search. That is what we can do: Google will be our detective ...'

And one last one from the Acknowledgements

My one particular ex-boss. My life when I worked for him was living hell, and was probably the worst phase of my life. I used to wonder why this was happening to me. Now I know. Without that experience I would not have done this book. Thank you Mr Ex-boss for making me suffer. On the same note, I want to thank all the women who rejected me (too many to name here). Without them, I would not have known the pain of rejection.


Anonymous said...

"...(too many to name her)..." should have read "...(too many to name here..."), isn't it? Anyway, this made for an interesting post. One can sure can the ideas and feelings of the 80s and 90s generation in the excerpts that you have posted. As for your blues, most of feel the same and we all need to reflect on those and try and be happy. easy to say, difficult to do. And, yes, when you think your life is oh, so perfect, the pane in the xerox does snap. and for the rest of your life you float on the gray waves of melancholy.

Soumyadip said...

Ouch! Another typo. Thanks anonymous, for pointing that out and for the morale booster.

aquamarine said...

'Show me the money and keep our daughter for the rest of your life.' That is the arrangement of arranged marriage.


I'm fed up listening to such stereotyped versions. Things change and people move on. But somehow, like the Indian serials which play on like broken records, change is never acknowledged.

Hope you are alive and well:))))

anthony said...

My fav line is" we live in COnstant hope" when asked if he had a condom. lol

San said...

>>When girls call a guy 'teddy bear' they just mean he is a nice

so true :)

enjoyed reading this, made me sit and giggle for a few minutes so I guess it was worth the 5 min it took me to read this :)

Hope the blue's have left you now .. it's xmas week :D

Accidental Fame Junkie said...

Soumyadip, first of all, I didn't expect you to pick up this book. If I may be so bold as to suggest -I think you need a manager to decide what books you buy. I humbly offer my services for this position. :) Second, good thing you mentioned "Not for any literary brilliance but déjà vu." My first reaction was "déjà vu" (Soumyadip?) at the call center??? Huh? Which since has subsided.

|| sbk || said...

"I am constantly amazed at the ability of women to calm down. All they need to do is talk, hug and cry out for ten minutes - and then they can face any of life's crap."

Funny innit? and do all the same things for the guy and he's still depressed and thinking about the problem.

Loved this post..has convinced me to buy the book.


Atul Sabnis said...

@ #28: "...and sometimes even music cannot substitute for tears."

Paul Simon, in The Cool, Cool River.

Buy it? or is the best stuff here already? ;-)

dwaipayan said...

i thought of gifting u this book on ur bday. anyway, isnt this book amazing......and u forgot to mention the dedication page....

dwaipayan said...

wowwwwwwwww.......after so many curese u finaaly hav removed that thinggg

Abaniko said...

"Apart from blonde threesomes, I think hitting your boss is the ultimate male fantasy."

HAHAHAHAHA! I can very well relate to this. HAHAHAHAHA!

Sindhu said...

I didn't like the book. Too much of bollywood in it.

Soumyadip said...

aquamarine, stereotypes is what the entertainment industry thrives on. Change makes good headlines, but the absorption and the acceptance takes time, lots of it.

anthony, oops, I missed that line.

sangeeta, the blues are long gone now I'm feeling pink.

AFJ, the job's yours. But this blogger has a bad reputation of being a poor paymaster.

sbk, that's the difference between Mars and Venus.

atul, got a decent collection of Paul and his buddy. But not all.

dwaipayan, the book's at best worth a read (for its price), I won't use the adjective 'amazing' though.

abaniko, we all do. Though I prefer brunettes.

sindhu, the first book is already being made into a movie and someone told me that the second one too will evolve into a silver screen avatar.

pallavi said...

I am yet to read the book. I have bought it by the way../:) and its in my shelf of to read books..

Ek Anjaan Ladki said...

hello again :)

I enjoyed the read.

btw, I'm impressed with your wrting. Are you indian / were you born and brought up in India? you seem very well taught in english if you dont mind me saying. its good. will be back.