New Delhi: It might just be haunted by the ghost of
a writer! For, NB 24 at Kumaon Hostel of the Indian Institute of
Technology (IIT) Delhi is the very room that planted the writing
bug in two 'old boys' - popular mass fiction writer Chetan Bhagat
and his senior S.V. Divvaakar.
Divvaakar, a mechanical engineer and business consultant, is
walking on Bhagat's trail with his first work of IIT fiction, "The
Winner's Price: Life Beyond the Campus", a tech-thriller about
"This is a coincidence. But we - Bhagat and I - lived in the same
room at IIT Delhi's Kumaon Hostel NB 24. I was senior to Bhagat by
a few years and inhabited the room before him," Divvaakar told
His book adds to the growing kitty of IIT books by students of the
institute that took off with Bhagat's "Five Point Someone" eight
years ago and is fast becoming an independent genre of popular
It sparked a near flood of IIT titles like Tushar Raheja's
"Anything for You, Ma'am", Neeraj Chibba's "Zero Percantile:
Missed IIT, Kissed Russia", Amitabha Bagchi's "Above Average" and
Suman Hossain's "A Guy Thing...A Magical Love Story of an IITian"
and Saumil Shrivastava's "A Roller Coaster Ride - When An IITian
Met a Bitsian Girl".
Now comes "The Winner's Price". To be released Feb 24 is also the
first fiction from Konark Publishers, known for its non-fiction
The book packs in social commitment and a mystery, the writer
Five friends, Harsh, Rocky, Armani, Ravi and Kamal meet 25 years
after graduating from the institute at the reunion party to recap.
Memories lead to the present and the friends find themselves
discussing the present state of affairs at IIT and Anna Hazare's
anti-corruption drive. The narrative takes off after the Lokpal
Bill is passed because of excellent floor management and a
scramble to implement transparency law begins.
The friends suddenly realise that they have a transparency issue
to settle among themselves and every victory exacts a price,
Divvakaar said. The story travels across three locales - India,
Dubai and California.
"I have explored the Karnataka mining scam in the book and have
commented how union minister Kapil Sibal's proposal to scrap the
JEE entrance test and merge it with school results could draw less
meritorious students to the IIT campus. The JEE entrance is one of
the toughest entrance tests in the country and it was independent
of school results," Divvaakar said.
The writer said, "The IIT coaching industry was estimated around
Rs.10,000 crore annually."
An independent musician, Divvaakar has composed a song, "Ai Ai yo..."
for the cinematic adaptation of Chetan Bhagat's "Two States" and
has sent it to filmmaker Karan Johar.
"The jingle features Chetan in its opening lyrics," said the
writer, a 1982 graduate.
Divvaakar had earlier composed hymns for the Commonwealth Games
and "100 years of Delhi" which was played in the PVRs and on
Doordarshan. He had cut an album for Sony-CBS in 1982 after
meeting (late) composer Salil Chowdhury's son, who composed one of
"I am working on my second book, 'Getting Mom Married', about
widow re-marriage in the changing social context of modern India,"
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)