One Night @ the Call Center
|One Night @ The Call Center|
|Cover artist||Chetan Bhagat and Samantha Holyoak|
|Publisher||Rupa & Co.|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Pages||267 (11th imprint)|
|ISBN||ISBN 81-291-0818-6 (Paperback edition)|
|LC Class||MLCM 2005/00074 (P) PR9499.3.B|
One Night @ the Call Center or ON@CC is a novel written by Chetan Bhagat and first published in 2005. The novel revolves around a group of six call center employees working in Connexions call center in Gurgaon, Haryana. It takes place during the span of one night, in which all of the leading characters confront some aspect of themselves or their lives they would like to change. The story takes a dramatic and decisive turn through a literal deus ex machina, when the characters get a phone call from God.
This is the second best-selling novel from the award winning author after Five Point Someone - What not to do at IIT!.
The book begins with a frame story which recounts a train journey from Kanpur to Delhi. During the journey, the narrating author meets a beautiful girl. The girl offers to tell the author a story on the condition that he has to make it his second book. After a lot of hesitation, the author agrees. The story was about six people working in a call center. One night they got a phone-call from god within the story, which comprises the bulk of the book, relates the events that happen one night at a call center. Told through the eyes of the protagonist, Shyam, it is a story of almost lost love, thwarted ambitions, absence of family affection, pressures of a patriarchal set up, an insight on the lifestyle of youth of this country and the work environment of a globalized office. Shyam loves but has lost Priyanka, who is now planning an arranged marriage with another; Vroom loves Esha. Esha wants to be a model, Radhika is in an unhappy marriage with a demanding mother-in-law, and military uncle wants to talk to his grandson; they all hate Bakshi, their cruel and somehow sadist boss. Claimed to be based on a true story, the author chooses Shyam Mehra (alias Sam Marcy) as the narrator and protagonist, who is one among the six call center employees featured.
The themes involve the anxieties and insecurities of the rising Indian middle class, including questions about career, inadequacy, marriage, family conflicts in a changing India, and the relationship of the young Indian middle class to both executives and ordinary clients whom they serve in U.S.A. There is an aspect of self-help in the book as the author invites readers to identify aspects of themselves and their lives that make them angry and that they would like to change. One of
- Shyam's woes
Shyam is very upset to learn that Priyanka is engaged to a person called Ganesh Gupta, who works at Microsoft in the US because he had dated priyanka for a long time and the two had engaged in sex. To add to his woes, he is horrified to learn that Bakshi had cheated him, and Vroom, by submitting the Troubleshooting Website to the Boston centre as his own without crediting him and Vroom.
- Priyanka's woes
Priyanka is first happy when she is engaged to Ganesh Gupta, who works for Microsoft but becomes furious when she hears that her parents have planned her marriage the very next month, which she feels is too early. Both her mother and Ganesh press her to agree to this proposal. She is even more saddened by the fact that Shyam was eavesdropping on her conversation with Ganesh. When Vroom and Shyam show her that Ganesh had forged his pictures to hide his baldness, she disapproves Ganesh for having cheated her.
- Esha's woes
Esha had earlier done a compromise by sleeping with a designer to get a modeling contract. However, the guy turned out to be opportunistic as he betrays her by telling her she can't become a model due to her height. He also tries to console her by sending her some money as compensation.
- Vroom's woes
Vroom is shocked to learn that Bakshi has cheated him and Shyam by submitting their work as his own. To add to his miseries, he overhears Esha telling the other girls that she had slept with a designer to get a modeling contract. But, despite all this, the main reason of his woes is that he feels that people like him, who should be building the nation's future, have not done a single thing to contribute for the development to this country.
- Radhika's woes
Radhika, who loved her husband very much, is shocked to learn about his dark side. When Vroom calls up her husband portraying as a radio jockey and asks him to dedicate roses and a song to someone special, he chooses his girlfriend Payal over his wife. Radhika who listens to this gets terribly upset as her husband has betrayed her.
- Military Uncle's woes
Military Uncle tries to be nice to his son and grandson. But when he sends some pictures via mail to his grandson, he loses his cool and asks him to keep out of his life. This leaves Military Uncle heartbroken.
- Phone call from God
The phone call from God is one of the salient features in the novel. The author has represented god as a friendly figure rather than a boss. He is shown as speaking in modern English rather than the stereo-typical pure English or Latin that one usually encounters God saying. The circumstances in which the characters of the novel get a phone call from God is discussed in the next paragraph. In order to cheer themselves up, all the lead characters of the novel decide to go and enjoy at a night club. After enjoying for a while, they leave for office. While returning, they face a life-threatening situation when their Qualis crashes into a construction site hanging over a mesh of iron construction rods. As the rods began to yield slowly, they started to panic. They are unable to call for help as there is no mobile phone network at that place. In this situation, Shyam's mobile phone starts ringing. The phone call is from God. He speaks to all of them and gives them suggestions to improve their life. After that, God also advises them on how to get their vehicle out of the construction site. The conversation with God motivates the group to such an extent that they get ready to face their problems with utmost determination and motivation. Meanwhile Vroom and Shyam hatch up a plan to throw Bakshi out of the call center and prevent the closing of Connexions call center, whose employees are to be downsized radically. When they emerge from danger, they have clear-cut goals in their mind. On returning to the Call Center, they carry out their plans with dexterity.
This book has been translated into Hindi and is published by Prabhat Prakash.
It was translated to Sinhala by Dileepa Jayakody and published as "හලෝ හලෝ" ('Hello Hello') as an author publication (ISBN No. 978551822743)
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2011)|
Like its predecessor, "One night @ the call center" met with largely positive reviews. Also Chetan Bhagat began to receive widespread attention for the modest pricing of his books. Considered[by whom?] by the critics to be a deliberate marketing ploy, the pricing led to debates all over the Indian publishing industry with some[who?] calling it 'a shrewd move by a clever IIM graduate'.
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