Read The 3 Mistakes Of My Life Online

Authors: Chetan Bhagat

The 3 Mistakes Of My Life

BOOK: The 3 Mistakes Of My Life
8.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

The 3 Mistakes

of My Life

A Story about Business, Cricket and Religion

Chetan Bhagat

Rupa & Co


My readers, you that is, to whom I owe all my success and motivation. My

life belongs to you now, and serving you is the most meaningful thing I can do with my

life. I want to share something with you. I am very ambitious in my writing goals.

However, I don't want to be India's most admired writer. I just want to be India's

most loved writer. Admiration passes, love endures.

To Shinie Antony, a friend who has been with me all these years and who

critically reviews my work and ensures that it is fit for my reader's consumption. My

family, which continues to support me in all my ventures. Specially, my brother Ketan

Bhagat for his critical feedback from Sydney and cricket freak brother-in-law Anand

Suryanaryan who told me more about cricket than anyone else would have.

The people of Gujarat, in particular Ahmedabad, where I spent some of the most

wonderful and formative years of my life.

My publishers Rupa and Co, who have fulfilled all my dreams and continue to

pursue the goal of making India read.

My friends in the film industry, who have given me a new platform to tell my

stories from, and who teach me new things everyday, in particular Atul Agnihotri, Raju

Hirani, Alvira Khan, Sharman Joshi, Vipul Shah, Imtiaz Ali, Shirish Kunder, Farah Khan and

Salman Khan.

The Madras Players and Evam Theatre Group, who turned my stories into wonderful

plays. My friends in the media, especial y those who have understood my intentions for my

country and are with me.

My colleagues at Deutsche Bank, my friends in Mumbai and Hong Kong.

God, who continues to look after me despite my flaws.


It is not everyday you sit in front of your computer on a Saturday morning and get

an email like this:

[email protected] S
ent: 12/28/2005 11.40 p.m.

[email protected]

Subject: A final note

Dear Chetan

This email is a combined suicide note and a confession letter. I have let people down

and have no reason to live. You don't know me. I'm an ordinary boy in Ahmedabad who

read your books. And somehow I felt I could write to you after that. I can't really tell

anyone what I am doing to myself - which is taking a sleeping pill everytime I end a

sentence - so I thought I would tell you.

I kept my coffee cup down and counted. Five full stops already

I made three mistakes; I don't want to go into details.

My suicide is not a sentimental decision. As many around me know, I am a

good businessman because I have little emotion. This is no knee-jerk reaction. I

waited over three years, watched Ish's silent face everyday. But after he refused my

offer yesterday, I had no choice left.

I have no regrets either. Maybe I'd have wanted to talk to Vidya once more –

but that doesn't seem like such a good idea right now.

Sorry to bother you with this. But I felt like I had to tell someone. You have

ways to improve as an author but you do write decent books. Have a nice weekend.



17, 18, 19. Somewhere, in Ahmedabad a young 'ordinary' boy had popped

nineteen sleeping pills while typing out a mail to me. Yet, he expected me to have a

nice weekend. The coffee refused to go down my throat. I broke into a cold sweat.

‘One, you wake up late. Two, you plant yourself in front of the computer first

thing in the morning. Are you even aware that you have a family?' Anusha said.

In case it isn't obvious enough from the authoritative tone, Anusha is my wife.

I had promised to go furniture shopping with her – a promise that was made

ten weekends ago.

She took my coffee mug away and jiggled the back of my chair. ‘We need

dining chairs. Hey, you look worried?’ she said.

I pointed to the monitor.

`Businessman?' she said as she finished reading the mail. She looked pretty

shaken up too.

And it is from Ahmedabad,' I said, 'that is all we know.' `You sure this is

real?' she said, a quiver in her voice. `This is not spam,' I said. Ìt is addressed to

me.' My wife pulled a stool to sit down. I guess we really did need write extra


`Think,' she said. `We've got to let someone know. His parents maybe.'

`How? I don't know where the hell it came from,' I said. And who do we

know in Ahmedabad?'

`We met in Ahmedabad, remember?' Anusha said. A pointless statement, I

thought. Yes, we'd been classmates at IIM-A years ago. ‘So?’

`Call the institute. Prof Basant or someone,' she sniffed and left the room.

'Oh no, the daal is burning.'

There are advantages in having a wife smarter than you. I could never be a


I searched the institute numbers on the Internet and called. An operator

connected me to Prof Basant's residence. I checked the time, 10.00 a.m. in Singapore,

7.30 a.m. in India. It is a bad idea to mess with a prof early in the morning.

`Hello?' a sleepy voice answered. Had to be the prof.

`Prof Basant, Hi. This is Chetan Bhagat calling. Your old student, remember?'

`Who?' he said with a clear lack of curiosity in his voice. Bad start.

I told him about the course he took for us, and how we had voted him the

friendliest professor in the campus. Flattery didn't help much either.

'Oh that Chetan Bhagat,' he said, like he knew a million of them. You are a

writer now, no?'

'Yes sir,' I said, 'that one.'

'So why are you writing books?'

'Tough question, sir,' I stalled.

'Ok, a simple one. Why are you calling me so early on a Saturday?'

I told him why and forwarded the email to him.

'No name, eh?' he said as he read the mail.

'He could be in a hospital somewhere in Ahmedabad. He would have just

checked in. Maybe he is dead. Or maybe he is at home and this was a hoax,' I said.

I was blabbering. I wanted help – for the boy and me. The prof had asked a

good question. Why the hell did I write books – to get into this?

'We can check hospitals,' Prof said. 'I can ask a few students. But a name

surely helps. Hey wait, this boy has a Gmail account, maybe he is on Orkut as

well.' 'Or-what?' Life is tough when you are always talking to people smarter than


'You are so out of touch, Chetan. Orkut is a networking site. Gmail users

sign up there. If he is a member and we are lucky, we can check his profile.'

I heard him clicking keys and sat before my own PC. I had just reached the

Orkut site when Prof Basant exclaimed, 'Aha, Ahmedabad Businessman. There is a

brief profile here. The name only says G. Patel. Interests are cricket, business,

mathematics and friends. Doesn't seem like he uses Orkut much though.'

'What are you talking about Prof Basant? I woke up to a suicide note,

written exclusively to me. Now you are telling me about his hobbies. Can you

help me or...'

A pause, then, 'I will get some students. We will search for a new young

patient called G. Patel, suspected of sleeping pill overdose. We will call you if we

find anything, ok?

'Yes, sir,' I said, breathing properly after a long time.

'And how is Anusha? You guys bunked my classes for dates and flow forget


'She is fine, sir.'

'Good, I always felt she was smarter than you. Anyway, let's find your boy,'

the prof said and hung up.

Besides furniture shopping, I had to finish an office presentation. My boss,

Michel's boss was due from New York. Hoping to impress him Michel asked me

to make a presentation of the group, with fifty charts. For three consecutive

nights last week I had worked until 1:00 a.m., but had gotten only halfway.

'This is a suggestion. Don't take it the wrong way. But do consider taking a

bath,' my wife said.

I looked at her.

'Just an option,' she said.

I think she is overcautious sometimes. I don't bite back.

'Yes, yes. I will,' I said and stared at the computer again.

Thoughts darted through my head. Should I call some hospitals myself?

What if Prof Basant dozed off again? What if he could not collect the

students? What if G. Patel was dead? And why am I becoming so involved


I took a reluctant shower. I opened the office presentation, but found myself

unable to type a single word.

I refused breakfast, though regretted it moments later – as hunger and anxiety

did not go well together.

My phone rang at 1.33 p.m.

`Hello,' Prof Basant's voice was unmistakable. 'We have a match at Civil Hospital.

His name is Govind Patel, twenty-five years of age. A second-year student of mine

found him.'


‘And he is alive. But won't talk. Even to his family. Must be in shock.’

‘What are the doctors saying?’ I said.

'Nothing. It is a government hospital. What do you expect? Anyway, they will

flush his stomach and send him home. I won't worry too much now. Will ask a student

to check again in the evening.'

'But what is his story? What happened?'

All that I don't know. Listen, don't get too involved. India is a big country.

These things happen all the time. The more you probe, the more the chances of the

police harassing you.'

Next, I called the Civil Hospital. However, the operator did not know about the

case and there was no facility to transfer the line to the ward either.

BOOK: The 3 Mistakes Of My Life
8.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Agorafabulous! by Sara Benincasa
Haunted by Herbert, James
Bury Me When I'm Dead by Cheryl A Head
Almost a Crime by Penny Vincenzi
Two-Part Inventions by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
Not Flag or Fail by D.E. Kirk