One Night @ the Call Center

 

One Night @ the Call Center or ON@CC is a novel written by Chetan Bhagat and first published in 2005. The novel revolves around a group of six call center employees working in Connexions call center in Gurgaon, Haryana. It takes place during the span of one night, in which all of the leading characters confront some aspect of themselves or their lives they would like to change. The story takes a dramatic and decisive turn through a literal deus ex machina, when the characters get a phone call from God.

The book begins with a frame story which recounts a train journey from Kanpur to Delhi. During the journey, the narrating author meets a very beautiful girl. The girl offers to tell the author a story on the condition that he has to make it his second book. After a lot of hesitation, the author agrees. The story within the story, which comprises the bulk of the book, relates the events that happen one night at a call center. Told through the eyes of the protagonist, Shyam, it is a story of almost lost love, thwarted ambitions, absence of family affection, pressures of a patriarchal set up, and the work environment of a globalized office. Shyam loves but has lost Priyanka, who is now planning an arranged marriage with another; Vroom loves Esha. Esha wants to be a model, Radhika is in an unhappy marriage with a demanding mother-in-law, and military uncle wants to talk to his grandson; they all hate Bakshi, their cruel boss. Claimed to be based on a true story, the author chooses Shyam Mehra (alias Sam Marcy) as the narrator and protagonist, who is one among the six call center employees featured.

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