Issue #11: “The 3 Mistakes of My Life” explores growing up in India; surfing the scopes of Business, Cricket and Religion

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The 3 Mistakes I made; Reviewed by Seyi Babs

Genre: Fiction

Author: Chetan Bhagat

Year of Publication: 2008

Shall we say a prayer first?

The book centered basically on three friends – Govind Patel, Ishaan Bhatt, and Omi – based in the city of Ahmedabad, in India. Much later, a young lad would join them; Ali. Although an entirely fictitious book, the prologue, and epilogues would make a reader think it is non-fiction, till you can recover.

Govind’s love for business made him open up a Cricket store with his always-nodding friend Omi and runaway cadet Ishaan. Ishaan would later train Ali with the goal of making him one of India’s finest Cricket men. Everything started sailing smoothly till the earth quaked, swallowing two years of the trio’s savings and twenty years of Govind’s dreams – all in twenty seconds.

As if a huge loss in business wasn’t enough, love came calling and that was going to be Govind’s second mistake. Love is a beautiful thing, but a monster if played wrongly. It first started out as tutelage in Mathematics. Govind would take Tuesdays to tutor Vidya, his best friend’s sister. Everything was fine, Govind and Vidya became caught in love’s web – with no data subscription.

The love play was going well – as was his business till the earth quaked – till Vidya didn’t see her monthly visitor after a long expectation. Oh, I can imagine what a nightmare it must have been for Govind, however, a third nightmare awaited in front. His business partner and friend was going to die, as a result of what he called ‘a selfish interest.’ If he had moved faster, he could have rescued Omi. Who was the killer? What was the motive behind the many killings?

Bittoo Mama, Omi’s uncle killed Omi by mistake, the mistake that was Govind’s third. When Dhiraj, Omi’s cousin was killed by Muslims, Mama (a stark Hinduist) took the law in his hands and went on to slaughter and burn Muslims, including Ali’s parents. Ali could have died, but for his Protector, Ishaan. Ali could have played cricket for Australia but for his love for India.

In a fleeting second, the powerful giant Mama fell at the feet of little Ali. it reminds readers of David and Goliath. With just a ball, Bittoo Mama came falling down. Well, Ali’s shots were powerful to get balls out of stadiums, wouldn’t have expected less.

This book teaches lots of lessons, first to the average Indian who is either stuck on Love, Religion or a zest to become a Tendulkar. Generally, it brings to the fore that business itself is a risk which is my major takeaway from the book.

Vidya was re-united with Govind after three years and Ish didn’t talk to Govind for three years. I think this deserves an explanation, or Chetan, does this sort of lull happen only in India?

I’d give the book an 8/10 rating and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Go grab yours off the shelf!


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