Is IIT and IIM the Ultimate Stuff to Write A book On?

For hungry readers like me, for whom the best evenings are the one spent at a decent bookstore, with eyes traveling high and low through the dungeons of great to read and worth to remember books, I have been personally very disappointed on seeing the plight of the newly evolved Indian author’s recent releases. Most of the times, I find the shelves stacked with books elaborating ones campus life experiences at college, prominently being the IIT’s  and IIM’s, India’s most prestigious and renowned engineering and management institutions respectively. Apart from them, you’ll even get to notice fresh graduates turned authors from DCE, The Hindu University, Delhi University etc. penning down their side of campus stories too. Where I totally agree that everyone who has been through college, has innumerable experiences of their own, which make beautiful memories to cherish for years later, on the other hand I find that every Tom, Dick, Harry has decided to come up with their personal tales to share in this regard and hence it has been high time, since I had a fresh page turner book, which could be worth a reference.

This would be worth mentioning that these books gain popularity in a very short time and soon become best-sellers as well, but they fail to maintain their position for a very long time, neither gains any recognition internationally. The short lived hush hush about the book is generally due to the fact that since only a countable number of students are lucky enough to acquire education at the IIT’s, IIM’s and a few other top notch colleges, the average brain masses, tend to get all the more inquisitive by the kind of lifestyle the lucky layer has in these colleges, which not only includes the study curriculum but various other hostel and classrooms tantrums as well. This curiosity is quenched, when people get to sneak-a-peek into the campus buzz, by the firsthand accounts of the students themselves, and hence we find books after books written on the similar repeated subject continuing to pour in. This might act as a side profession for the authors, who in the mainstream continue to work for well known MNC’s but is severe misleading path for those who wish to adopt writing as the main profession. On seeing the instant hype, a book written on IIT or IIM gains, any author would, choose to make a debut by weaving his story around these institutions even if he has never been a part of them, and mind you, it doesn’t take much time to plot a story when you already know the formula for a welcoming debut. Start from the ragging day, hostel nights, mess food phobia, professors’ caricature-like description and stuff it up with an exotic love story/fling and sprinkle a bit of eroticism here there. Garnish a happy ending and a sentimental message about how lovely experience it was, and BAM! You have a remarkable book.

This has also given rise to several publishing houses which have made their way into the market, and to an extent have taken up this job to give the big break to new authors, and I totally appreciate their efforts in this regard, but I feel most of these houses, so not have professionally employed editors as most of the books are full of grammatical and spelling errors which sometimes, are so large in number that, after a while they become highlighted more than the original story. So, most of the time the book becomes a ‘trace the errors’ exercise, and I rather consider putting the book down.

Amidst all this, I haven’t lost hope. This is the same country where Rabindranath Tagore bagged a noble prize, where writers like Munshi Premchand and poets like Harivansh Rai Bachhan were born. Where Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, Arvind Adiga, Priya Desai evolved as the Booker Prize Winners. I hope our young budding writers could just, pick up a few points here and there from these facts and I could actually get something worthwhile to burn a hole in my pocket. I hope the wait gets over soon.

Till then, thumps up! =)

Surbhi Dhawan

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