Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Review - Complete / Convenient by Ketan Bhagat

Not yet finished the book, but then it is like a delectable gourmet dish you want to keep coming back to! First and foremost, you recognize straight away this book is straight from the heart. One can relate to every anecdote narrated here as an actual commonplace reality. One realizes this can and does happen while living in faraway lands some or the other time. Especially being in the same industry as Ketan describes in his book and having spent half a decade globe trotting and never knowing if I am coming or going, the situations ring true to experience.
The narrative hooks the reader right from the preface bringing out the dilemma of every NRI - aa ab laut chale or aa ek naya jahan basaye? return back or stay back?  Both options destined to take him 'back' somewhere.
The quick, humorous narrative throws you right into the midst of the cacophony of a boisterous north indian wedding with every detail brightly painted from the preparation and shopping trips to the conflicts to the loud relatives to the ego massages required to get through this occasion. The festivities of the wedding are contrasted very well by dramatically changing the scene and taking the reader across the panorama of a land of opportunities through the eyes of a newly arrived couple and their true to life experiences in a strange land where you are on your own. Completing the tangle of experiences is the peek into corporate life and office politics.
All in all a complete entertainer is what Ketan comes up with in his first attempt. The tone and language of the narrative is set as decidedly anecdote based making it a story you expect to hear in some party from the white collared, travel weary, two pegs down corporate hot shot.
I started by comparing the book to a delectable dish. Like any dish, I did find a few ingredients here which, given a choice, I would push to the corner of the plate. The depiction of joining the 'mile-high club' seems forced and almost looks like the distributor asked the director to include an item song in the movie to create popular demand. C'mon! There is hardly enough leg space for one person to just about sit comfortably in economy class man. Another speed bump is the sudden flashback which was avoidable. It does not add any twist nor reveal any new facet of the characters and makes one wonder why it was not put in sequentially anyway. The book is a bit longish and one gets the feeling it could have done with a bit more crispness.

That said, from an emotional experience perspective the book hits the right nerves and anyone who has been abroad and away from desh or anyone planning to embark on the journey will relate to and thoroughly enjoy the true to life experiences depicted here.

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