One Night @ the Call Center

My Rating: ♣♣♣♣

One night at the call center is a story penned by Chetan Bhagat. The story revolves around the characters working in a call center at night. The characters are Shyam, Priyanka, Esha, Vroom, Radhika, Military Uncle and Bakshi (the evil boss). The story is narrated from Shyam’s point of view.

Each of the character are facing problems in their life.

Shyam was earlier attached to Priyanka, but now have broken up. Despite, having feelings for her, he is in a daze when he comes to know, she is getting engaged to a NRI named Ganesh Gupta, a high-flier who works in Microsoft. Apart from this, Shyam seems to have lost all his esteem and self-confidence through the nature of treatment he receives from others and constantly degrading remarks from his evil boss, Bakshi. Bakshi is portrayed as a selfish boss who takes full credit for other work, only concentrating on his own self-improvement but not the call center company (Connexions).

Priyanka is initially happy about her new engagement. However, she is unhappy about her parents’ haste in marrying her the coming month itself. She feels is not yet ready for marriage and mulls over this. Meanwhile, Shyam and Vroom, who are good friends, unveil that Ganesh hid his baldness from Priyanka by showing her some online photos of Ganesh. This further saddens Priyanka.

Esha is an attractive girl, whose dream is to become a model. However, to achieve this, she went to the limits of sleeping with the designer to get the contract. The designer however, cheats her by saying she is an inch shorter than expected, and compromises by offering money. Esha feels deep guilt and hatred over herself for her actions. She is unable to accept herself anymore.

Vroom is a fun-loving guy who has many aspirations. However, he works in the call center, subduing to everyone else, just to earn enough money to keep up with his rich friends and their hobbies. In the midst of the night, Vroom gets to know that Bakshi has taken credit for all the 6 months of hard work, that he and Shyam has put in to develop a customer service website. This angers him greatly, but he is unable to avenge his anger due to fears of losing his job. Meanwhile, he overhears Esha pouring her guilt to her other friends. Vroom who loves Esha, feels sickened after this.

Radhika is already married. She has great trust and love for her husband. She endures all the trouble her mother-in-law gives her and succumbs to the traditional roles that her mother-in-law expects her to do, even preparing the daily milk with crushed almonds for her in the morning when she is rushing for work. Though Radhika, does not complain about this, her mother-in-law is still unhappy and complains all the time to her husband. Later on, Radhika accidentally comes to know that her husband has cheated on her. This greatly shocks and hurts her.

Military Uncle broke up with his son’s family some years ago. When he tries to maintain contact with his grandson by sending some photos, he receives an email from his son, asking him to cut all contact with the family. Military Uncle gets deeply saddened by this.

While all of them have their troubles, something unusual makes them realise the importance and appreciation of the life they are living. Facing some systems error, all the agents are unable to take calls. Vroom decides that they go out to a bar to relieve their stress. While on the return journey, Vroom decides to take a shortcut to reach office quickly and the van ends up crashing into a construction site. The van is left dangling precariously on the edge of a some steel rods above a abyss. When all hope seems lost, they receive a phone call in the no-reception area. The call was from GOD.

The rest of the story follows what happens after God speaks to them and saves them by giving them some tips to escape out of the situation. God makes them stay true to their heart and promise that they will do what they have to do to achieve that.

It was an interesting read, especially the parts after the call from God were particularly inspiring in one way or another. The characters were easy to relate to and thus made much of the reading very comfortable. However, it might seem a little draggy in the initial parts. Overall, it was a good read.


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