“Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”
– Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
The damage that Chetan Bhagat has done to the Indian literary canvas is not only irrevocable, but epidemic as well. It has engendered a whole new crop of techie-turned-writers who harbour aspirations of being in the same league as him. Rahul Kumar Pandey’s debut novel is an unwelcome addition to this this burgeoning genre.
Sky, God and a Clown is Pandey’s own story. It is the clichéd tale of a small-town boy from a middle-class family who makes it to one of the premier engineering institutes of India. The book, like others of its ilk, exudes a terrible lack of imagination, glorifies the ordinary and perpetually harps on the struggle of the mediocre against mediocrity. The author’s blithely penned ‘middle-class’ take on things can get tedious at times. The characters in the book are mostly archetypical − a stoic father, a virtuous mother, a studious sister and a benign brother − and behave unwaveringly with mechanical idealism throughout the story. The book treads the predictable course of the boy’s success, the loss of a parent, corporate life and then his ultimate salvation−leaving the job and embarking on a writing career.