Press 1 for technical support.
Press 2 for broken hearts.
Press 3 if your life has totally crashed. . . .
Six friends work nights at a call center in India, providing technical support for a major U.S. appliance corporation. Yet behind the headsets, everybody’s heart is on the line. They all try to make it through their shifts–and maintain their sanity–under the eagle eye of a boss whose ego rivals his incompetence. But tonight is no ordinary night. Tonight is Thanksgiving in America: Appliances are going haywire, and the phones are ringing off their hooks. Then one call, from one very special caller, changes everything.
Bhagat is undeniably one of India’s most famous modern novelists. His contemporary form of writing has gained him immense popularity, yet he has received much criticism as well. In his novel ‘One Night at the Call Center’, he delves into the lives of six different people, with various different issues. Three-fourths of the book is focused on slowly building up the different issues faced by each character, and in allowing the reader to understand each character better. However, most of the focus is on the protagonist and his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, who is one of his coworkers as well. Although this relationship is rather realistic, the constant flashbacks can become rather boring, and the mild personality of the protagonist is weary.
The novel does a great job of portraying the honesty of the real struggles faced by today’s youth. In many ways, it is highly relatable and rather enjoyable for a quick and relaxing reading session. However, it has received much criticism as well. The turning point of the novel is the apparent call from God, which takes the book in an entirely different direction. No possible logical explanation for this is provided, and the sudden shift from a realistic to mystical novel is rather confusing, even though it is hinted at in the beginning. From that point onwards, it is a slippery slope. The climax is filled with unrealistic problem solving, along with extreme racism towards Americans, which Bhagat has been criticized for. Although the book is a rather pleasurable read, its venture into Bollywood movie territory is not a welcome one.