BOOK TALK: THE GIRL IN ROOM 105 … by Chetan Bhagat


Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.


By Chetan Bhagat

    Chetan Bhagat this time has tried his hand in a different genre. From writing love stories he has tried to move to a thriller that has romance … melodrama and even suspense. Although, he has tried to shift in the category. He continues to remain in the same quadrangle … IIT. A place he loves the most … I guess. As the story largely unfolds there.

    The book is full of masala … only a little short of the proverbial … Bhan mati ka pitara. The novel navigates, giving an impression as if it’s been written for a Bollywood movie. At one place I am even reminded of Hindi movie ‘Parwana’ starring Amitabh Bachchan and Navin Nischol released in 1971.

    Chetan has written this book with a lot flashbacks. I would have preferred the book to be around 225 to 250 pages and not 300 pages. As the last fifty pages are a bit of a drag. Also one is more comfortable with the disclosure of suspense within 250 pages as it becomes difficult to hold on beyond that.

    Author has used a lot of cuss words including some Hindi abuses that only mars his own reputation. His language as usual is clumsy. But he has done some good detailing with respect to the portions where the main protagonist endeavours to solve the murder and has used the right terminologies when it comes to technical words.

    The book can also be classified as a love story with murder mystery as an inbuilt plot.

    All prominent characters of the book are alive barring one till the end. In fact around the last 30 pages at one place I found the presentation a tad similar to a Hollywood movie—Murder by Death written by Neil Simon.


    Keshav Rajpurohit is an ex IIT student. After passing out from IIT he could never find himself a lucrative job in the corporate sector. So he joins a coaching centre as a faculty that coaches students for IIT entrance. With him is also his durable friend Saurabh who also happens to be his room partner, or I should say his house partner and also his colleague in the coaching centre and his batch mate from IIT.

    It once so happens, that Keshav bumps into Chetan Bhagat on a flight where he starts narrating the story of his girlfriend Zara to him. Zara is the second main character of this novel.

    Keshav had met Zara some seven years back. Their friendship gradually evolved into a strong courtship and finally into a hot love affair. But since their families were quite different. His coming from Alwar where his father was a senior member of the RSS, and where, Zara was from a Muslim family from Kashmir. A divide was but obvious and separation a strong possibility.

    After this Raghu a Tamilian Brahmin enters Zara’s life. An industrious person, again a pass out from IIT, now an owner of a thousand crore start-up company. Raghu is not a good looking. So when Zara discusses marriage he readily agrees, and he even agrees to convert to Islam. Both are thus engaged and even a date for their wedding is announced.

    But Keshav, after the breakup is unable to forget Zara. He therefore out of lovelorn, starts boozing regularly and even gets into binge drinking. Keshav tries his best to win over Zara once again, but fails in all his attempts.

    But surprisingly on Zara’s birthday. Keshav receives a whatsapp message from her. She invites him to her hostel room which is 105, in Himadri, IIT Delhi. Keshav goes to meet her at 3 in the morning along with his friend Saurabh. While Saurabh waits downstairs. Keshav climbs the mango tree and enters her room. Where, he finds Zara lying dead on her bed.

    Terrified, both Keshav and Saurabh inform the police. SHO Rana of Hauz Khas Police Station reports at the crime scene and starts investigation on fast track. Under media pressure he hauls up Laxman, the security guard of the hostel for the crime.

    The thrill starts after this. When Keshav feels, Laxman is not the real killer, and it is a doing of someone else. So, he decides to go all out, to unravel the crime along with Saurabh. The plot seems quite farfetched as they even travel to Kashmir and come in close contact with a terrorist gang there. The plot doesn’t quite fit with the character of the protagonists—Keshav and Saurabh who are just a faculty with a coaching centre.

    Well … if he is doing it for the cause of unceasing love than obviously the book turns into a tragic love story with an inbuilt murder mystery. The chief protagonist Keshav does mention the word ‘Únlove’ towards the end of the novel which only denotes love in a subtle manner. Or it could even be a marketing gimmick—who knows. The lighter side of the book is filled up by the nok-jhok between Keshav and Saurabh which is interesting.

    Before the murder mystery is solved. The author takes you through all the suspects that includes Zara’s father; Zara’s cousin … Sikander; Professor Saxsena … Zara’s PhD guide; Captain Faiz Khan, Zara’s childhood friend and even Raghu.

    It has angles of honour killing, a terrorist job, jealousy and even a straightforward accident. You’ll find out when you read it. Finally after helicoptering and hovering over a long period of time the suspense eventually lands and unravels.

    The book is in easy read format … somewhat Hinglish at times. It was definitely not a page turner for me and did not impact me in any significant manner. The book is more for the college going students who would be able identify themselves with the plot and the characters therein.

    It is also quite awful when it comes to tenses, punctuation, editing, sentence structuring. But even with all that Chetan Bhagat sells. So isn’t he lucky. Well God is with him.

    I would like to give this book six out of ten.

  Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

Author & Blogger



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