The Engineering Train: Book Review

The Engineering Train(Fiction INR 145/-)

First up: when will Indian Fiction graduate in something other than Engineering?

Too narrow you’re being. We now have bank accountants, managers, reality show contestants. They all have their noses up, sitting in those shelves next to the biggies. They know they will be picked up when the snobbish Shakespeare-and-Tagore companion ain’t looking. But yes, engineers are right up there when it comes to bubblegum. I have to grant you that.

So, where does this train take us?

GIET. An Engineering college in Gunupur, away in Odisha. Author Smruti Mohanty says in his own words – “the atmosphere has a Shakespearean ambiance…”. True to that, we are introduced to a lovelorn Romeo – Aditya – who is continually battling a conflict between his heart and mind. He cannot make up his mind about his Juliet you see.

Love story, eh?

The cursive “Love” on the cover should speak for itself. “The Engineering Train” is the tale of how young minds – especially Engineering ones – are confused when it comes to matters of the heart. Aditya and Reena are at centre stage, confused and confusing (the readers) as they sit kissing by a tombstone or making love in a Gents PG. Friends of these two – Bisu and Deba – have adventures of their own. Yet more GIETians come along screaming, flirting and abusing. What fun.

Cross your heart?

Oh yes. As the tale progresses, it is evident that Mohanty has made good use of his Eastman-coloured memories. These recollections help with the finer details of his characters and comprise the more enjoyable parts of this ride.

Tell us about the Engineering connection. Appealing?

In a way. To the Engineers, you know, who have spent their internship getting trained in girl-watching, this should be a walk down memory lane. The book, in a neat bogie-style, traverses through all the eight semesters of the degree and elaborates on the high points each brings. Friends, squabbles, booze, placement interviews, you name it. Even if most people are not brilliant enough to manage a 70% when they have spent the majority of the term ogling at girls, reading about Aditya and his friends shouldn’t be too bad.

Oh, say I am your regular non-engineer. What then? Too heavy-duty, would it be?

Hardly. Considering this is a tale of youngsters and they are bold and sassy all that…the language is extremely casual. Never bother about those rules of Grammar your non-engineering degree taught you; you can even chuck the punctuation. Also, at a little more than 200 pages, this is a one-sitting thing.

The train’s headlights?

Easy reading, campus frolic, masala! There is also considerable gyanΒ dictated by the Heart and the Mind – personified in style.

And the red flag(s) at the rear end?

Do not pick this up if you are bored to death with Mr. Bhagat’s aftershocks, cannot stand the ‘colloquial’ in a paperback and are looking for the ‘novel’ in a novel. But if you have a few idle hours and wish to ride a train that goes nowhere in particular, you might choose to hop on. Just hold on tight.


Author Smruti Mohanty had sent along a review copy. To know more about his latest offering, you can visit him here. I wish you luck Smruti, for this venture and all others you will take up in the future. πŸ™‚


30 thoughts on “The Engineering Train: Book Review

  1. Hi Deboshree,
    hum bhi saddi Delhi se hain.
    I added your short review on the testimonials page with a link to this page.
    Hope you would not object to it. It also rotates with other testimonials on the homepage –

    who he hell am i?
    Webmaster –
    Thank You

  2. On your blog after a very long long time and the first thing I saw was change in the name of your blog and your spicier headline. So, you shifted to Delhi, huh?
    Anyway, thanks for the warning. Now I’m sure I am not going to read this book. I’m actually bored by seeing such books written by engineering students inspired by Chetan Bhagat.
    Story in pieces

  3. Interesting review but the story sounds stale and I hate love stories. πŸ˜€ Why do engineering graduates write only about love stories (overrated, cliched, over-the-top)? Seems like post-Bhagat everyone (read an engineering student) thinks he can make a book out of his life! Once I was at Howrah station and whiling away my time browsing books at a stall. I was overwhelmed to see a plethora of books – all about interesting(purportedly) love stories and needless to say all written by engineering students. Let’s have a look at the titles – Ouch! That ‘Hearts’; Oops! I Fell in Love!; It Should be ‘U’!! My Love; No Deadline for Love; You Were My Crush! Till You Said You Love Me!; Ohh Yes, I Am Single! And So Is My Girlfriend!; Love Was Never Mine etc. The titles with the extra h’s and exclamation marks tell us about the writing style of the authors – cool and hip and pedestrian.

    I think a day will come when we’ll have more authors (and all love-story writers, mind you) than engineers. πŸ˜€ Too much engineer bashing I did I think. I shall stop now because I am myself one. πŸ˜€

    • You hate love stories? Really? The sketching, poetic you? πŸ™‚
      Anyhow, I couldn’t agree with you more Ajay. Like I was just telling Bhavia, these so-called light reads make up for a lot of (unwelcome) weight on the shelves of bookstores these days. They have cheesy covers, cheesier names and are overloaded with spell/grammar errors. Not to be a snob or anything, one supposes that four years in college should have been about experiences more than puppy love. Now, even sleazy love. Publishers also seem compliant…sigh!

      Ha ha… yes too much bashing we did. Even I should shut up now. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Ajay, I agree with what you said here…Excess of anything is sure to kill the curiosity and the art of Indian literature…However, just a correction….I have read most of the books mentioned above…And Love was never Mine is not written by an engineer, nor it is cool and pedestrian…I read it, and though its there is no story as such, its one of the best to read about the emotions in detail…Will think whether i should go with “Engineering Train” or not….At least the name kills the curiosity.

      • Hello Prerna πŸ™‚ Welcome to P&P.
        I haven’t read the book you are talking about… But I must say, the name sounds more promising than the ET. It is sad in a way that the Engineer-literature combo now comes with such negative connotations.

  4. Interesting book title..

    I don’t want to go back to college memories..I can’t go through 8 semesters once more πŸ˜› πŸ˜€

    As you have mentioned that it is a light read, may be I will grab this..

    BY the way, did you read CB’s latest book?I almost hated both him and the book.All the love I had for him after two states went in air

    • Ha ha… very valid point Bhavia! πŸ˜›
      ‘Light reads’ make up for a lot of weight on the shelves these days. In bookstores, I mean. πŸ˜€
      Nope, I haven’t read it and do not plan to. I don’t think I can persuade myself to. But I have been hearing a lot of flak about it…

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