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Book Review: College Diaries by Gaurav Gupta

How often do you come across novels based on college life, school days, friendship, and love affairs? Almost now and then – isn’t it? But the question is, how many of those novels manage to stir your soul or able to pull you back in the memory lane. That analogy factor matters when you read these kinds of books – where the storyline throws the reminiscences of your earlier happy life about your childhood, schooling days or teenage. We all love to read these novels and go an extra mile to put ourselves beside the protagonist.

Well, coming to our story – College Diaries by Gaurav Gupta. What new we have today for you? As the title suggest, the story is about college and its tagline says – Story Behind the Wall. Remember Chetan Bhagat wrote his first novel – IIT Five Point – that was based on life of students in IITs and how they screw their life if not studied well. We can draw some parallels between these two books, as both authors belong to IIT, that too of North India. The setting of both novels takes place in an IIT and a few other common factors. Chetan Bhagat was inclined towards fun and humorous aspect, while Gaurav takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride. This book is not only meant for IIT people but for those also who did engineering from some remotely located colleges, away from their parents’ vigil. For students, the real fun and learning comes as a first-hand experience when they are away from their parents. If you wish to read about engineering students having shallow fun while staying with their parents, go and read Sudeep Nagarkar.

The story is about Amay Gupta and some other characters with auxiliary significance. Amay is studious, in the wake of his elder brother, he clears the entrance exam (IIT-JEE) and gets into IIT Roorkee. There he bonds with two like-minded friends: Kabir and Rahul. The three first gets into basic college fun and mischiefs and also see the hard time during ragging. Then, we see NCC and NSS. The guys are reluctant to join NCC as it involves hard physical activities, like getting up early and going for parade and all. On the other hand, to escape that, these guys somehow join NSS. Under NSS, these guys will be working towards social responsibilities and handling off-campus activities for their college that involves things like PAN-India college summits, Tech Fest, Cognizance and so on.

Soon, they get acquainted with senior student named Kashyap. He takes care of them like a half-brother and they respect him in return. But little did they (or Amay) know that Kashyap is all set up to scheme and plot against them for his personal benefits. After this point we see that the novel drifts towards a political landscape. Can you imagine politics in IIT? So, guys, NSS, election in the college campus for the post of SAC, G-sec, Cell Ward and so on. The political angle involved into the working of NSS makes this novel a gripping read. Gradually, it comes out that things that look simple and straight aren’t like that. The book is poignant in highlighting the campus politics.

Though the battle for NSS-related politics keeps running in the backdrop, there are equally strong stories entwined that keep their characters intriguing tightly pack and pull them on and off on the lines of nostalgia, peer pressure, family matters, betrayals, gloominess in love and so on. Apart from NSS politics, Amay’s love story with Shreya, too, keeps him on tenterhooks. By the time book drifts to its end, we see that Amay’s love story grows deep in meaning but loses its sheen. As a result the lead character gets into writing melancholy poems for his sweetheart. The talk about grades, academics and attendance has not been highlighted as we all know that whosoever gets into IIT doesn’t need this show-off.

Amay and Kashyap, the way these characters fight, one for humanity and the latter for self-importance and superiority, is a beauty that channelizes the course of the novel right up till end. Amazing read for all young Indian readers. The author has put in lot of efforts towards language usage, editing, and the overall pace of the book.


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