Monday, 22 June 2009

Books I Read When Travelling

When I went travelling for six months in Australia and New Zealand, I had a lot of time to read. I travelled mainly on buses and some of the journeys took 24 hours to complete, and there was time spent on the beach or sitting by the pool.

Australia has wonderful 'Book Exchanges' where you can go in and buy second hand books, but they will also buy your books off you. Some of these 'Book Exchanges' were piled to the rafters, and there were books on every topic and every genre. In Perth, for example, there is the marvellous 'Elizabeth's Bookshops'.

As another occasional/irregular series I'm going to review some of the favourite books I read travelling, starting with 'One Night at the Call Centre' by Chetan Bhagat.

The book focuses on six Call Centre workers in India - Shyam, Priyanka, Vroom, Esha, Radhika, and Military Uncle. They all work the night shift, and the story covers one momentous night that changes their whole lives. The book examines their backgrounds, their relationships, how they feel about their lives and how they feel about their jobs.

Shyam and Priyanka are star-crossed lovers, who used to date. But since splitting up Priyanka is seeing someone else and her parents are pressurising her to marry him. Vroom likes all the trappings of Western culture such as Pizza, bikes and clothes but is also deeply patriotic and has an intense dislike of the US. He is very attracted to Esha, but belittles her in public when he discovers that she slept with someone to help her modelling career.

Esha's modelling career is hampered by the fact that she is not tall enough. She really wants to go out with Vroom, but worries that he will get rid of her if he finds out about her past. Radhika is unhappily married to a cheating husband, and finds out when her husband is tricked onto a radio programme by Vroom that the would rather dedicate a song and flowers to his mistress. Military Uncle is the only older character and is desperately unhappy because he has alienated his family. He tries to make amends with his son, but it all goes terribly wrong.

On that fateful night, the crew discover that their boss has taken credit for a project of Shyam and Vroom's, so they plan their revenge. They sneak out to a nightclub and as they are driving back to work, they crash the car and end up suspended over some iron rods on a construction site. As the iron rods start to give way under the weight of the car, Shyam's mobile starts ringing and it is God who is on the line....

This book, is both funny and sad, but ultimately gives hope that every difficult situation that we face can be overcome and sorted out if we just look at things from a different perspective and are open to change.

A great book for overnight trips on the Greyhound - read it in one gulp!


No comments:

Post a Comment