[2004-07-25] “Five Point Someone”

This short novel by Chetan Bhagat tells the story of the narrator and his two friends and their stay in IIT Delhi. While some of the lines did make me chuckle and some made me say “So true!”, I still do not feel that all the hype over this novel is justified. Some of the stuff was a bit of an exaggeration too - this is not what generally happens in the IITs people (the coke bottles episode, the making out with a professor's daughter thing, etc.)! Then again, IIT Delhi has always been a bit different from the other IITs, so who knows. ;-)

However, I do strongly agree with one of the main points made in the novel - the IITs do make a student work unnecessarily hard on getting decent grades, solving uninteresting and cliched problems - they prepare one more for a plum industrial job than for being able to innovate as an engineer. Much of your aukaat is judged merely from your Cumulative Performance Index (CPI), as if that is the only metric of someone's personality or capability (hence the title of the novel). (Disclaimer: I happen to be a person who was a telu of his batch with an utterly unimpressive CPI to show for his four years at IIT Kanpur.)

The real benefit of an IIT (in my humble opinion) is in the resources made available to the students at very reasonable rates and (more importantly) in the ability to interact with many like-minded and very bright individuals with varying cultural backgrounds. Many a time this is enough of a stimulant for one to find interesting things to do despite the frustrating rat race for grades. Some of the best and long lasting friendships are made during these four years.

If you don't really get worked up over your grades, an IIT can be a very nice place to be despite the bad food, the utter lack of decent females, the pathetic living conditions and the delusional and dictatorial faculty members!

Oh by the way, apart from being IIT alumni, Chetan and I also happen to have wives with the same name (“Anusha”).

Other Posts from 2004