Friday, June 14, 2019

One Night @ the Call Center

My copy features the movie poster
One Night @ the Call Center, by Chetan Bhagat

A couple of novels by Chetan Bhagat came across the donation table, and I took them home to see what they were about.  Bhagat is a popular young Indian author who, I gather, writes about the problems of young Indians.  This is only his second novel, written in 2005.  Bhagat writes in English, but a very Indian version of English, which I liked.

Shyam, like a zillion other young adults in India, works in a call center.  They do a lot of computer support, but Shayam's department deals with appliances.  All night, he and his five team members take calls from Americans having trouble with their ovens or vacuums, which doesn't give them a wonderful opinion of American intelligence.  Shyam wants desperately to move up in the company; he and his co-worker Vroom built a webpage that deals with a lot of customer problems, but his manager just keeps spouting business cliches and telling him he needs to develop his skills.

On the team, we have Vroom, who loves cars; Esha, budding model; Radhika, young wife; Priyanka, who is saving up for college, and Military Uncle, who is much older and kind of grumpy.  During one night -- which is Thanksgiving in the US, and thus involves a lot of calls about turkeys -- they're going to find out some truths about each other.  And eventually, they'll get a phone call from God.

It's a fairly light novel that is obviously hoping to be made into a movie, which it was (Hello, with Salman Khan, and I gather it was a flop).  It's not terrible, but it's not great; it's a standard formula story -- much like The Breakfast Club, say.  But, you know I'm always up for a fun Indian novel.

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