Based on real life incidents the first thing that strikes in this novel is the characterization. The characters are all like next-door neighbor with whom one can relate, gel, cry and laugh so very easily. The background is here the city of Ahmedabad that though being thoroughly urban is yet not as urban as many of its metro counterparts. The fresh smell of innocence and purity and the flavour of the very Indian household make this novel an account to read over and over again. It has the protagonist Govind braided with his passion and expertise for business and maths, the story also has Ish whose only passion is cricket and there is also Omi a priest's son and loyal friend who is ready for anything that his friends demand.
The story opens quite unexpectedly. A Singapore based writer receives an email. The email is from a boy (Govind) in Ahmedabad. The mail reads that he has committed some mistakes in his life and therefore is failing to find the reasons to carry on his life any further and he is therefore actually popping sleeping pills as he is finishing each sentence. The mail had nineteen sentences with nineteen full stops. Hence assumed that the boy has popped nineteen sleeping pills. The story gains the pace as the writer catches the flight and rush to meet this young man lying at the hospital bed. The 3 mistakes of my life is thus the tale of this young man who thought to finish off his life because of the mistakes he did commit.
The 3 mistakes of my life is the saga of friendship. The tale of dreaming dreams, the story of chasing the dream. The story revolves round three friends, Ish, Govind and Omi. Ish, the cricket lover, Omi the son of a priest and Govind the protagonist. Govind is a Math lover and the dreamer. He dreams of floating his own business. He wants to forget all his worries, fear, tears and agony and just wants to start his own business to survive in the harsh world where dream shatters almost every now and then. The three friends start a sports shop and it works. Things seem to be a lot better. Govind experiences for the first time the taste of being the businessman. The story moves from one event to the other. Ish finds Ali, a young cricketer with lots of talent and decides to coach him. Govind besides being the businessman and math lover still falls for Ish's sister and here on starts committing his famous "three mistakes".
The political turmoil, Ayodha issue, Gujarat earthquake all contours the background of the plot whilst turning the dream of Govind, Ish and Omi into nightmare. Yet to cherish the dream, to reach the goal, to attain every thing that they desired they had to face it all - religious politics, earthquake, riots and most importantly forbidden love and above all, their own mistakes which life threw as if a challenge to them.
With his typical style Chetan Bhagat weaves the tale of three friends, the tale of shattered dreams and the realistic account of joining those dots of broken dreams and then dreaming again. Moving from humour to wit and then from fun to serious and ultimately to the dark problems of life this novel has almost everything from passion to laughter, from emotion to romance and from friendship to revulsion.
Published by Rupa and company this novel, the 3 mistakes of my life is indeed an enjoyable tale of three friends and their dreams.