If you are going on a train journey/planning to have a nice day at home reading/go back to your college years, I suggest you read Zero Percentile-Missed IIT kissed Russia by Neeraj Chhibba.
The novel doesn’t offer you any big promises in the lines of a Sidney Sheldon or Michael Crichton or the least a Chetan Bhagat, but it offers something else-a fresh outlook, so neatly and refreshingly presented and convincing in nature that you love every page of it. It is a book for the common man to read and reminisce about his golden days, especially his college days.
The story is about a bright Punjabi lad Pankaj who plans to enter IIT but goes to Russia by destiny’s fate to study Engineering. His adventures before and after he goes to a small sleepy town called Volgograd in Russia and the seven years he spends there. are told in an interesting way.
It tells us how a boy destined for greatness (as per the words of his family astrologer) meets the challenges of life and comes out victorious. The Russian part is the crux of the story and the tempo is kept up well enough to keep us engrossed. From his early school life to his blossoming friendship with Priya, Motu to his later adolescence years leading to his entrepreneurial spirit which helps a first time coaching center break it even to his adventurous outings in Russia, to the hardships he undergoes in a distant, unknown land to make ends meet, peer pressure, and lots more.
It brings back our own fond memories of our hostel life/initial days struggling to make ends meet and the aftermath effects of a devasting failure. The cool way Pankaj takes them all in his stride-it’s interesting to read them. It is a fast one filled with pranks, love, sex, corruption, mafia and all the items of a movie.
It created a desire in me to visit Russia. It also made me remember my own college days and my American days fondly.
A good, refreshing one.