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One Night at the Call Centre [Paperback]

Chetan Bhagat
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 May 2007

A comedy of romance and crossed lines

Six friends are selling home appliances to the US from a call centre in India. Each one has an issue with love. Call agent Sam works right beside the girl who's just dumped him. He's dating someone he can't stand, just to get over her.

Esha is just short of becoming a model. Two inches, to be precise.

Vroom wants to change the world.

Radikha's trying to manage her mother-in-law, and hold down her job.

Tonight is Thanksgiving in America, and customers are queueing up to complain about white goods going wrong. On this night of a thousand phone calls, when life couldn't look more dismal, one unique caller gets on the line. And that call is going to change everything ...

A romantic comedy of six friends kicking against the system, against their boss, and against each other. Something's got to give ...

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (7 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552773867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552773867
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 501,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A charming comedy about the serious emotional issues facing a group of friends a case of Godly intervention, and the result is no less enjoyable for being implausible. IN A WORD: Divine" (The Sunday Age (Aus))

" 'ADMIT IT, at some stage you've been rude to a friendly Indian manning an international call-centre phone. In this funny yet poignant novel, call-centre colleagues all have love issues...a light-hearted book, but the dialogue is good and the characters well developed and believable'" (Herald Sun)

"'The blurb say this book was a bestseller in India. It's not hard to see why... the novel has some cutting things to say about globalisation and modernisation, wrapped in the light and fluffy pastry of a romantic comedy. At the end you might even feel sorry for the Indian cold-callers who have just interrupted your TV viewing ...'" (M-Preview)

Book Description

Richard Curtis meets 'The Office' , a provocative romantic comedy with a unique perspective -set in a call centre in India on the night six troubled friends get a call from God

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Like the Curate's Egg - only good 'in parts'. 7 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Six people are working the night-shift at the 'Connexions' call centre in Gurgaon, a high tech suburb of Delhi. With their western pseudonyms and their fake American accents, these are not just 'ordinary' call centre workers - these are the elite operatives of the Western Appliances Strategic Group (WASG), trained to handle the really bizarre and problematic (i.e. stupid) enquiries from the customers of an American computer and white-goods company. When the idiocy or perversity of the callers looks set to blow the strict time limits of the normal call handlers, their calls are fed through to the WASG who have slightly longer to deal with them. They've all been taught that "Americans are Stupid" and have been introduced to the "35=10 Rule" - in other words that the brain of a 35 year old American is similar to that of a 10 year old Indian.

The six are a very mixed bunch; there's Shyam (or Sam) who's the unofficial team leader and still trying to get over breaking up with his colleague Priyanka, who's still treating him very poorly. Then there's Esha (aka Eliza) who wants to be a model but just isn't tall enough and Vroom (or Victor) who has a motorbike and the hots for Esha. Radhika is married and struggling to keep her mother-in-law happy whilst wondering why hubby needs to spend quite so much time out of town. The last of the bunch is referred to as Military Uncle, a retired military man who works the online helpdesk. Each and all have their problems which are explored to varying degrees over the one night when the book is set.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Written and disappointing 5 Jan 2010
A Kid's Review
I bought this book after the positive reviews on amazon, I feel really duped, the book was horribly written. The book began with an interesting prologue, and the reader was asked to answer three very insightful questions, with the promise that 'all will be revealed later,'which didn't happen. There were two strange , random doodles in the book that were not necessary to further the plot. There was enough of a plot to keep me reading to the end, but I thought I was reading the literary version of junk food, you feel nauseated, and you know you are doing something bad to your body ( in this case your mind) but you keep on going , not knowing why. It was not a horrendous read, but it will be recycled, I always keep my books but keeping this book will just remind me how much time and money was wasted on this book , how this book got published is anybody's guess.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars really poor 14 May 2009
By elz dad
I felt I had to add a review here to bring the average down - how anyone could give it five stars is beyond me.

The opening of the book seemed fairly promising - you're asked to think of the answers to three personal questions, and I spent a while doing this after being told that this was important and would make the book much more enjoyable.

But the story itself is just dull: no interesting characters, and implausible plot ideas.

Since it was relatively short I finished it, hoping there'd be some interesting payoff throwing light on the questions I'd been asked to think of, but no.

Don't bother wasting your time on this book!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read 7 Jan 2013
By MarkW
The basic premise of this story - of what happens to 6 friends during one night working at a call centre in India seemed to me to have a lot of potential and I thought the story started well. The characters were interesting and the use of flash backs to chart the decline of the relationship between the Shyam and his girlfriend could have been very effective. The portrayal of Indian life and work in a call center was interesting and you did start to get a real feel for the different characters. For me, however the story lacked impact and I did not really get a feel for the drama of the situation and the real affects and any feelings that the characters had for each other when secrets and problems were revealed - it all semed very light to me. What did not help was that I did not find Shyam to be a particularly likeable character - even at the end when he was apparently looking for some kind of redemption. The attitude of the call center staff to their American customers may be realistic(?) but seemed stereotyped and a bit unkind. The key phone call later on switched the whole nature of the story to a different kind of story and I was not sure that added to the plot. The tactic used to try to save the call-center seemed very unbelievable and again unecessary. I read it all, and found it an easy read, but it could have been a lot better.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time 25 Nov 2010
Having read his other book 'Five Point Someone' I decided to read this one. This book is complete rubbish. What a waste of time. The only reason why this would have sold in India could be because of it's targeted audience - call centre workers. There are so many of these in India and they would definitely find a lot interesting in this book.

Very disappointing.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious read! 6 Jan 2008
The synopsis tells you enough about the plot that I won't go into the details. This is such a quirky read and linking it to `The Office' (as Amazon has done) is not bad actually, it has that feel. I picked this up on a recommendation from a friend; she was spot on. When I read the opening chapter I thought yeah right, this isn't going to be that good but Bhagat's writing style is so easy you are soon swept along with the narrative.

In the opening page we are asked to do a task - think about something you fear, that makes you angry and one thing you don't like about yourself. I had a think, came up with an idea and plodded on with the reading. When you reach the end of the novel you find yourself thinking about what you said in the beginning and viewing it in a different way. Clever stuff!

God calling the characters who work in the call centre is a brilliant modern way of asking you not to find religion or allow Him into your heart but really just to trust and know you are watched over. It gave me a nice warm feeling! The characters are funny, they do some good things and some dreadful things all of which we are allowed to view through our own eyes and through the eyes of different characters.

Overall a great read that is well written with funny characters.
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