Posted by: kcgadiyar | July 10, 2010

Indian authors and the IIT-IIM hangover

I was in a book shop recently (i know, big surprise), and a few books by Indian Authors caught my eye. I was looking through the stack of Indian author books, when i suddenly realised that 90% of these books have one of these two 3-letter words in their subtitles: IIT and IIM.

A sampling of the subtitles:

– A love story of an IITian
– The saga of a girl in an IIT
– How to survive at an IIM
– IIT meets LSR, and sparks fly
– IIM life decoded
– Love at IIM
– In the summer months, IIT takes a break
and interestingly enough, in a metatextual nod that the author herself knew that it was getting overboard
– Yet another book by an IITian
(I wish i could have clicked a pic to show you, but the book store owner did not seem enthused to have someone click pics in there)

Strangely enough, the book synopses of each one sound very, very similar to any other among them. Needless to say, i did not buy a single of those books (despite the price point of Rs.100 for each one). I instead bought a book with the subtitle “Life, Love and the Mumbai Rains” (My addition: and not an IITian in sight)

Why are so many books written about love in IITs and IIMs? Is the Indian book reading public (already small as it is) really thirsting to know the story of how in an IIT, a guy from the north met a girl from the south and fell in love, they had parental opposition thus leading to comedic interludes, and finally everything was agreed and they got married and lived happily ever after (sounds like a pale imitation of “2 states”) . And let us not even discuss the buddy books of IITs and IIMs, every single one comes across as a bad imitation of “Five point someone”.

I agree that Chetan Bhagat brought this whole genre to light and showed that there is a market for Indigenous authors, and i also agree (having been in an NIT and an IIM), that the 4 years or the 2 years spent there give you plenty of stuff to write about (hell, i could fill up to 5 books from just the people i knew pretty well). But, the combination of these has now been done to death. Are there no other things left for the graduates from IIT and IIM to write books about. Let’s look beyond love at an IIT, and while we are at it, let’s look beyond the IITs and IIMs (NO, I do not mean that you should write a book about IIPM either).

Whatever happened to the real stories that used to be written, instead of the normal love stories which are viewed through YRF tinted glasses now? Have the Indian literrateurs become so creatively bankrupt that any given book from a selection of about 15 sounds exactly the same? Lets have something different, the internal politics in the colleges, something dealing with actual classes for a change, or better yet, lets get out of college.

I am a believer in supporting the Indian literary scene but until the IITians and IIMites actually manage to leave the hallowed corridors behind and come up with good stories that need not rely on the hackeneyed setup, my money stays with me.



  1. […] trend has been spotted and written about by several bloggers like KCGadiyar, TheViewspaper,Wandering thoughts etc. Mainstream media like The Telegraph and The Open Magazine […]

  2. It seriously irritates me to see these books and the fact that they even sell! And no it’s not jealousy. I come from a “lowly” NIT and a foreign school of non-acheivers 🙂 I had an IIT guy as a class-mate who didn’t know shit abt anything, but always claimed how brilliant he was at IIT and never forgot to mention his IIT-JEE rank. The fact that people from Harvard/MIT/Stanford don’t write such books should tell them something about themselves. Just my 2 cents

  3. i m in 12th n a big aspirant for iit jee, hoping 2 crak it dis year. i do want 2 know howz iit n how 2 survive(do’s n dont’s at iit) bt not hving ny way!!! cn u suggest me any remedy n plz tel me d name of sum gud novels!!!plzzz!! thanx

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