The 3 mistakes of my life-Chetan Bhagat-book review - eNidhi India Travel Blog

The 3 mistakes of my life-Chetan Bhagat-book review

Bought the recently released Chetan Bhagat’s “The three mistakes of my life” from Odessy and finished reading in Half a day. Here’s a quick book review and some flaws I found in the book.

Just like the previous Chetan Bhagat books, 5 point someone and 1 night @ call centre, the three mistakes of my life also makes an interesting reading-Is a story of 3 Gujarati youngsters in first person narration of Govind Patel . Stated to be based on real incidents and syncs with real life incidents like Gujarat earthquake, 9/11 attack, Godhra sabotage and riots etc, as well as some cricket matches. The book effectively portrays the thinking process that goes on in young minds and clubbed with unique style of Chetan’s storytelling and effective customization with local culture, events etc makes an excellent read.
Quick outline of the story:

Story-line runs in 3 tracks:Govind Patel is a young Gujarathi boy who has scored centum in Mathematics and aspires to be a great business man. He sets up a sports goods shop with his friend and partner Ish and Omi. Ish is a cricket fanatic, a district level player turned coach. Omi is from a priest family but not interested in becoming a priest. 

Track-One is how Govind aspires big, manages to grow his business and goes through its ups and downs. Gujarath earthquake ruining his over 1 lakh investment for a shop in a newly built mall is termed mistake number 1.the 3 mistakes of Chetan Bhagat book cover pageGovind also gives maths tuitions to earn money and he is asked to give tuition to Ish’s sister. Vidya needs some help understanding maths and Govind becomes her private tutor. 

Track 2 is how their private tuition progresses to friendship, love and more, before finally getting caught by Ish resulting in collapse of their friendship and Govind branded as a traitor. Govind violating an unwritten protocol & falling in love with his best friend’s sister is termed mistake number 2.

Ish spots a young Muslim boy named Ali who due to superfast reflex able to make mental calculations at unbelievable speeds using which he can hit sixes of every ball. The third track of the story line is as to how they struggle to make this gifted boy a superstar, buy coaching him, taking him to Australia and protecting him during communal riots. A split second delay by Govind in making a specific move which could have saved Ali from a hit is termed mistake number 3.

Are these really qualify as mistakes? All of us lose money due to bad decisions and unexpected circumstances. Most of us fall in love (one sided at least) and at some point in our life we do think and act selfish. Not feeling anything unique about these mistakes. What do you feel?
Book gives real near life description of why many students hate maths, a kind of inside view of election politics and Gujarath riots, the challenges and differences people face while chasing big dreams and more, all in all giving you your money's worth. The story begins with Govind writing an email to Chetan after consuming sleep pills as a suicide attempt due to his 3 mistakes. Chetan finds and meets this guy and story begins from a flashback. Excluding the death of several people during riots (including Omi, his cousin and Mama) the story otherwise has an happy ending.

My most interesting lines from the book-
Page 86-Vidya and Govind go to market to buy guidebooks for former’s exam
“What is this?-Vidya said as she tried to lift the book with her left hand. She couldn’t. She used both her hands and finally took it six inches off the ground. ‘No seriously, what is this? An assault weapon?” -I will discuss this topic in little more detail in a separate post soon.
Because the story is supposed to be based on real incidents, I found few odd things in the story:

The 3 mistakes of Chetan Bhagat-in this book
Mistake OneThe whole Ali story looks suspicious to me-here’re my points:
a. Can anyone really fool an entire set of stadium officials with one VIP visiting card? Ali is taken to Goa stadium and Govind flashes a visiting card to the security guard, stating he is a rich businessman and wants to get an Australian player as brand ambassador. Security guard in turn consults a set of officials and lets them in to VIP stand after detaining Omi. Isn’t that ODD? When VIPs visit some places do guards detain someone from their team? Stadium officials just let them sit in VIP stand? Why didn’t they introduce these people to someone from the team-say team manager or someone for further talks? When a business man wishes to hire a celebrity for endorsement they approach the celebrity through proper channels-not by bumping into them while they play. Throughout the storyline no one else (Indian and Australian press, neighborhood elders etc) notices Ali’s ability?

b. 30 mins after the match these guys take over the stadium and let Ali face 6 balls-No one ever questioned them/noticed Ali’s ability to hit sixes? Ground staff, photojournalists, management, Aussi/Indian team members, security...

c. Govind orders passport and visa on phone with a travel agent as if he is ordering a domestic air ticket-That is odd-passport takes nearly 2 months to arrive and includes police verification and other formalities. A schoolboy from a small town goes to Australia and no one around knows the purpose? (local press, neighbors, school staff, friends etc)

I somehow feel Govind might have just told “we tried to show Ali to Australian team” and Chetan cooked up rest of the story, including Australia visit.

Mistake Two
Page 214 of the book says they watched riot scenes on NDTV. Godhra incident and subsequent riots happened in feb 2002 while NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India were launched on 14 April 2003 (Proof)Certainly they couldn’t have seen Godhra riot scenes on NDTV-must have been some other channel but Chetan just mentioned NDTV. 
(Note: New Delhi TeleVision(NDTV)  was operating as a content provider for other channels-they didn't have their own channel in 2002. May be we can give a benefit of doubt to Chetan)

Mistake Three
a. During 2000-2002, mobile phones were not that common. They were just making their presence felt but hadn't reached the mass. Rich people flaunted it while upper middle-class had, may be one cell phone per family. In this story almost all characters carry a mobile, which sounds a bit unusual. 

b. Earthquake is not end of everything-A clever business man like Govind couldn’t think of options like-seeking refund from Mall owner (of advance rent and deposit paid) or compensation from insurance money etc? Or wasn’t the mall built again post earthquake? Govind could have claimed his space then?

Verdict: Read Chetan’s books as if you’re watching Bollywood movie. Might be entertaining for the duration you spend watching/reading but not much room for logic/reasoning. Narration is excellent, retains "what will happen next?" momentum and the book is economically priced (Rs. 95) Keep your thinking hat aside, read, enjoy, move on.

CB is also marketing this book smartly by triggering a referral scheme-Read first few pages of the book and refer 3 friends to read another few pages...

My other book reviews: 
* Book Review-it happened in India by Kishore Biyani 
* Book Review- Not a penny more not a penny less- Jeffrey Archur 
* Book Review-Merchants of Deception- Eric Scheibler
* Music Book reviewRaga Chintamani
* The Incredible Banker & Devils in Pinstripes(Ravi Subramanian)
* 2 States-Chetan Bhagat
* She's a jolly good fellow (Sajita Nair)
* Calendar too crowded
* Fate, Fraud and Friday -Bhavna Rai


  1. I also read the book. I still find it is not up to "Five Point Someone". The entire Australian episode described in the book is a bad idea. The story line had some many loose ends like you mentioned.

    I wrote a post abt this book in my blog too. Chk it!

  2. Thanks Saithilak.

    I've read your review and commented at your blog

  3. hi srinidhi,

    nice comprehensive analysis. you have got many of the glitches but in the process you have revealed too many parts of the plot.

    Regarding NDTV channel argument .. ur argument is partially right. As my memory runs the riots were shown in Star-News(the news segment was produced by NDTV). They weren't a independent channel at that time.

    Btw I am awaiting for ur post abt "assault weapon".

  4. @Shande

    I have given an overview of the storyline. A blog post can never be a substitute for reading the book. These three mistakes weren't a serious mistakes as such so thought of destroying the hype and set the expectations clear for a reader.

    Please stand by for the "assault weapon" post-may be a week or two...

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

  5. Comments received for this post at Mouthshut

    metrosekshual said:
    May 25, 2008 07:02 PM

    I wonder how many blokes really do the math when they face Shoaib Akhtar....hitting sixes requires fast mental calculations! Thats a revelation. The next time you’ll see IBM coming up with a ’Shocking Pink’ which can hit 100 yard sixes off Brett Lee.
    Bhagat disappoints. Though good for a MaheshButt film.....

    kimi016 said:
    May 25, 2008 07:02 PM


    Wonderful rvw & gr8 analysis spl NDTV one.. will catch this one pretty soon.

    Cheers !!
    candyfloss said:
    May 25, 2008 07:09 PM

    Amazingly elaborate review... was disappointed with Chetan Bhagat’s last book (One Night...) so was debating whether or not to read this one. Your review sure helps!
    enidhi said:
    May 25, 2008 07:19 PM

    Yes... One needs to be physically strong to survive such fast deliveries-Not sure how 12 year old can withstand such superfast deliveries and hit sixes
    enidhi said:
    May 25, 2008 07:19 PM

    @ Gurpreet


    . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    enidhi said:
    May 25, 2008 07:22 PM



    but read it when time permits-will make an interesting read
    nidhi1 said:
    May 25, 2008 09:15 PM

    Hi Shrinidhi,

    Thats an interesting review. It was interesting than the book..

    I dont think the story in the book is a real life story. Chetan always starts his story in flashback quoting a real life conversation. But it is all manipulated. All characters are unreal.

    Great write up!

    Keep writing!


    enidhi said:
    May 25, 2008 10:01 PM


    I take that as a complement...


    . . . . . .
    sweets_desire said:
    May 26, 2008 10:01 AM

    hI nIDHI..i have got this book..will read it soon...
    your review was superb...:)
    keep writing alwaz

    jaideepkhanduja said:
    May 26, 2008 12:11 PM

    Shri, well have not read this book so far, but ur revu tells that is quite good take... wud try soon...

    akt42002 said:
    May 26, 2008 12:30 PM

    It is not a true story but based on true events of the time like the earthquake, the riots and a few cricket matches. Rest of it is writer’s imagination.
    p; He himself says that he does not write well but tells a story well. He has written to appeal to the young, non-serious readers like my son (18 years old) who have promptly gone and bought the book.

    ; &nbs
    p; Movie rights are already being talked about.
    enidhi said:
    May 26, 2008 01:41 PM

    @ Sweets Desire

    Thanks for the complements.


    . . . . .
    enidhi said:
    May 26, 2008 01:42 PM


    yes, read it but keep your thinking hat away...

    enidhi said:
    May 26, 2008 01:44 PM



    Thanks. Yes, if you can keep your thinking hat aside and read then this is a good book to read.
    Chintu25 said:
    May 26, 2008 03:43 PM

    Shrini :)

    Cool review :) I too found same glaring mistakes....guess he shud become a scriptwriter now :)


  6. Hi Nidhi,

    Ya, the mistakes you pointed out were correct. But Chetan's novels are akin to Hindi movies, most of the times, no logic. These kind of mistakes can be found out in 5 Point Some one too.

    I felt book was not upto the hype created, especially the title, 3 mistakes. Some guys felt after reading the prologue in his site that it is not a fiction but his life story!

    Read my take on the book in my blog


  7. Yes Raveesh,,,

    Those mistakes are not really mistakes-almost everyone faces such issues...

    Reading ur post now...

  8. Congrats as this post of urs is becoming famous on google search.. How did u do this?

  9. @Nidhi

    Well there's no exact formula to explain that... A bit of SEO (Search engine optimization), some links from popular blogs, a bit of luck and Google's faith in my blog...

  10. Hi, me too read this book and got frustrated.
    LOL seeing your review on this book and the errors you had pointed out made me write my review on this book a little more interesting.
    Thanks for this review and pointing out those errors.
    Hope you read and enjoy my review on this book on my blog... ;)

  11. HI Joel

    Reading your review... Good work...


  12. Amazing review and I agree to every single word in this review...

  13. And also
    Ish asks fred what his name was and was he playing...
    How can a man so much involved in cricket not know the name of a player in the team and whether he plays or not

  14. Hii..

    Wonderful review.. a heads up for me. Not to just get deep into any book i read... I was wondering if the story was true where is Ali. Who is Ali and if there exists a person with such super talent, has he started to fame? I completed this book just a few days back. So not knowing much of things... If you could help please...

  15. There have been a zillion comic blogs on chetan bhagat... twitter had some funny stuff going on with him blocking ppl... neways i found this funny...

  16. can you tell me how many children or youngsters read books....the percentage is low but chetan have hit the score and even book haters read his books ..which means its good to a certain expect and a book is written to reach the audience and tell thm something ..the gujarat episode hit the audience as it really made people know about the my aspect it is wonderful attempt of chetan bhaghat

  17. Sofi,

    That was one valid point. I agree..

    Anu: Thanks for sharing


    Its more of a factious character

  18. i read the book n i think ali was even fake.

  19. nice review.but i actually kinda enjoyed d book.i wonder if the book is all seems so real.

  20. I appriciate for all your books.
    One nigth @ call center was the best novel for me.
    can i know what was the girls name whom you met in train????
    thanks a lot............

  21. This was my first book by Chetan Bhagat and seriously speaking that was my first and last mistake for reading his books ever. I do like intelligent works like by Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum.

  22. Thanks S.

    Anons: let us hope CB answers your questions

  23. My most interesting lines from the book-
    Page 86-Vidya and Govind go to market to buy guidebooks for former’s exam
    “What is this?-Vidya said as she tried to lift the book with her left hand. She couldn’t. She used both her hands and finally took it six inches off the ground. ‘No seriously, what is this? An assault weapon?” -I will discuss this topic in little more detail in a separate post soon.
    i really wish dat u do give it as soon as possible coz i really need dis.....plz post d explanation or d discussion why u liked this topic asap.....

  24. even i want to ask d same question which has been asked by some chetan bhagat on june 07 2012...plz answer.....

  25. I agree with your review nidhi,but in 1995 mobiles were introduced in india and it was actually during 2000-2002 Reliance had launched a scheme called Kar lo Duniya Muthi Mein .it actually provided a free mobile with the connection. So many middle-class ppl. actually bought it. i agree with all the other points u stated.
    but ur review was very helpful:)

  26. I agree with your review nidhi,but in 1995 mobiles were introduced in india and it was actually during 2000-2002 Reliance had launched a scheme called Kar lo Duniya Muthi Mein .it actually provided a free mobile with the connection. So many middle-class ppl. actually bought it. i agree with all the other points u stated.
    but ur review was very helpful:)

  27. mistake-
    page 216-ali wore yellow tshirt and old pair of jeans.
    page 242-his thin body in white kurta pajama.

    thet didn't go to ali's home in between,then where did ali change his dress..:p

  28. I had read the book more than 3 time. Every times when i read the book show a freshness.

  29. Thanks Navin

    Harjot Singh: Nice observation

    Kay, thanks for your comment

  30. Good book. One must read who loves our country. It gives the definite inside view of what is really going on in our country. We all know the symptoms, and sometimes get frustrated with no cure of it, but It talks about the Cure as well. It may not be inspirational or Fun like Bhagat's earlier ones, but definitely it is an Honest book which expresses the most of the Youth's view, who understands a bit. It may let down to those who doesn't want to face the reality or who wants to be in their world, but those are having a concern, and going through the what is going on in our country for past few years and see through the pathetic condition of the country, will definitely relate to it.

  31. I just finised reading this book. my first ever indian literature I ever read. it's amazing, fun, and entertaining but I'm having problems with the translation, though it's just small grammar lapses.

    let's talk about ali and his cricket stuff. why all of a sudden ali wanted to play cricket? my understanding is he was forced and bribed. Is abba pushed ali to go on training to have some sort of free tuitions? though abba promised to pay if his budget permits... after the autralian trip, no one has a guts to tell ish to endorse ali to the indian team? though it was stated in the book that team india is not good in terms of training their mates. and so? is ish more good than the team india trainers? i guess, ish depends TOO MUCH on ali's talent.

    for govind. a business minded person that thinks how he will become rich somehow pursuaded to support ish's obssession towards ali's talent. a lot of money were wasted supporting ali. what was govind thinking? that someday ali will be famous in his field and earn tons of tons of money? i know they're friends but this is business, almost everything went to ali.

    but overall, it's a good book. i enjoyed reading it =)

  32. the only chetan bhagat title that was a little sensible. glad to have started reading him from here and hence picked up his second book. the fictional god controlling everything was enteratining but simultaneously seemed so foolish

  33. any one can tell me what is perceptual error,motivation,Emotional intelligence, Group dynamics, in 3 mistakes of my life

  34. any one can tell me what is perceptual error,motivation,Emotional intelligence, Group dynamics, in 3 mistakes of my life

  35. I have just read this book, I loved it so much that cannot resist myself to tell the world, that this is a great work by Chetan Bhagat Ji. When searched online I landed on your website. Just to say God Bless You.

  36. now what can i say about chetan who is world renowned for his novels but this one is worth to be in your collection....not as great as 2 states yet it had touch of everything in's not too interesting yet not so boring as well....

  37. Thanks Neha, Kavita, Rahul,Galib for your comments.

  38. Thanks for Sharing this Shrinidhi. It is very good Point.

  39. Hy Nidhi,
    Your review was excellent.I have read every single one of Chetan Bhagat's books and have found most of them to be utter rubbish.His first book Five Point Someone,based on real life events have been a bit thought provoking but very boring.The second book One Night At The Call Centre was no better.It was an imaginary tale and I can confidently say One Night At The Call Centre is an imaginary story having ZERO logic.The Three Mistakes Of My Life better than his previous two books.Although it did not make sense most of the time,the story was capturing.I didn't find it boring like the other two.2 States was a story based on his life and was the only book that was interesting as well as logical.It showed some realities that happen in the Indian Marriage System even in highly educated families.The prejudices that take place in the Indian society is clearly depicted in the book.Revolution 2020 is a book which would appeal largely to people who are interested in politics.It shows the corrupt political system in India behind the veil of democracy.Although i like the book largely for the political content in it(as i m interested in politics)the book was not liked by most of my friends as it had something very illusional.Half Girlfriend was like One Night At The Call Centre and cannot be considered as a good read.The recent book One Indian Girl can be a handbook for feminists as it shows how the society showcases a girl while having no regard for a boy.
    This far I have felt that most of Chetan Bhagat's books are not enjoyable.
    Thank You

  40. Thanks for your comments Sauda Mol. I am yet to read Rev 2020.

  41. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Appreciate your efforts and interests to comment. Comments may be moderated due to increased spam. Will ideally respond to comments within few days.Use Anonymous option if you don't wish to leave your name/ID behind- Shrinidhi

Powered by Blogger.