Coming back to the Crossword store, The Girl in Room 105 ,a paperback and a product of Westland publication, was occupying the first position in the Fiction department. I wasn’t surprised as this is where Chetan Bhagat’s novels usually end up. What surprised me was that this was the first time he has involved himself with a crime story. Or should I say in his words an ‘unlove story’?
But back then, I had just started reading Erich Segal’s The Class. So Chetan Bhagat had to wait for sometime till he could introduce me to The Girl in Room 105.
I was in college when I first read Chetan’s Five Point Someone. From then onwards, his every novel has found a place in my bookshelf. Some may criticise his storyline, but to be honest that never stopped me from paying for a Chetan Bhagat novel. Not just because I am a big admirer of his work. But also for the fact that his effortless humorous style of writing always calms down my nerves. I look for that kind of humour in every novel I read.
Now, let us not keep the girl waiting in room 105 anymore and say Hi to her.
The story starts on the New Year’s Eve of 2018. Keshav Rajpurohit and his friend-roommate-colleague Saurabh are in the middle of a party thrown by Chandan Arora, the owner of Chandan Classes. However, Keshav is in a sulky mood. New Year eve always reminds him about his ex-girlfriend and now somebody else’s fiancée, Zara Lone. Keshav has tried and failed to rekindle his relationship with Zara several times after their break-up. Zara has turned cold shoulder towards him every time. Keshav’s only access to Zara these days are her WhatsApp DP and Instagram photos.
A month later, one night Keshav and Saurabh are busy boozing up in their small flat in Delhi. Then Keshav receives a message in his WhatsApp. To his surprise, the message is from Zara.
It is her birthday and she is upset why Keshav hasn’t wished her this year. The allegation made by Zara is true. Keshav has always wished Zara on her birthday even after they broke up. But this time, he has promised Saurabh that Zara will be a closed chapter.
Of course, his vow doesn’t last for long before Zara’s subsequent invitation to meet her in the hostel room. She tells Keshav that she would keep her room 105’s window open. Keshav can enter climbing the mango tree(the way he used to do when they were dating). He sees a silver lining in the sky to bring back his relationship with Zara in track. He along with Saurabh, drives in a drunken state towards Himadri, the girls’ hostel in IIT.
At 3:00 am, Keshav enters room 105 through the window using his old tactics. And within minutes, he gets the shock of his life.
How does Keshav wish Zara on her birthday? Why is Zara showing interest in Keshav when she has ignored him throughout? How does Keshav’s life change after he meets his ex in room 105? I have no desire to be a spoiler. You need to read the novel to know the answers…
The story moves back and forth in different times giving a clear picture about the lives and backgrounds of Keshav (a boy from Rajasthan) and Zara(a girl from Kashmir). How they met in the Rendezvous Fest, IIT Delhi in 2010 and started dating each other shortly. When they decided to take their relationship to the next level, how complications creeped in and gradually set them apart. What Zara really expected from a relationship. What she received instead. How Keshav, a mediocre IIT student and a faculty in Chandan Coaching Classes lands himself amongst an upheaval after meeting Zara in room 105. The novel also subtly touches certain painful areas India is facing at present such as terrorism.
The novel is a crime story. Still Chetan Bhagat’s hilarious writing style will keep you entertained without cutting down the thrill factor. His easy way of story telling has always been his USP. And he hasn’t disappointed in this department this time either. As far as the story goes, it has got a wide range in terms of characters and locations. The plot is interesting and a complete page turner. Those who binge on Crime Patrol episodes (like me) will enjoy the bumpy ride with Keshav Rajpurohit.
So, if you haven’t met the girl in room 105 yet, I would suggest please meet her at least once 🙂