When Chetan Bhagat writes a bad book, it is regrettable. It casts all MBAs in a negative light. People with an appreciation for literature- heck, for any good writing- will sneer at us and say ‘Oh, you’re an MBA. Like Chetan Bhagat.’ It’s hard, I tell you. Hard.
Still, there are mitigants. At least the brunt will be borne by people from IIMA and IITD. Also, TDCs and I-bankers. And those buggers deserve all the sneering they can get. So as an IIMB alumnus, my position is a little more secure.
Until now, thanks to Ravi Subramanian, batch of 1993, who has written a steaming pile of manure entitled If God Was a Banker.
If God Was a Banker is not a book to be thrown away lightly. It is not even a book to be hurled away with great force. It is a book whose copies must be seized from all bookshops, burnt in enclosed environments, and have the ashes buried under granite and basalt mountains. And after that the bookshops must be purified with Gangajal. Ravi Subramanian has accomplished the impossible and written a worse book than Chetan Bhagat.
When the very first page contains the phrases ‘The sun was yet to leave its heavenly abode’, ‘he knew the entire topography of the Greco-Roman chandelier’, and ‘his wife of nineteen years’, it dawns on you that Rupa has been on a cost cutting drive and sacked all its editors, and that the rest of the book promises untold horrors. But the true scale of these horrors is unimaginable until you actually encounter them.
The depth of these horrors is indescribable, and the range is almost infinite. There is anachronism – email in India in 1987, among other things. There is bad sex described using corporate jargon. There is a Gujew in Calcutta who speaks Punjabi. There is a shameless plug for The Hindu (okay, to be fair, the N Ram era probably hadn’t begun in 1987). There is a wholesale substitution of plot with morality play. There are – and this is surprising considering Subramanian is Tam – not enough commas.
You know, although Subramanian tries to project the moral as being about the importance of living an ethical and ascetic life, the real moral is that Iyengar men should not write1, and instead leave the writing to the more intelligent Iyers. In fact, Iyengar men should not do anything at all, except stick to their core competence of having daughters of unsurpassed beauty and dazzling charm2.
If you spot this book in your local bookshop, I urge you to do your civic duty, buy it and destroy it before some unsuspecting soul picks it up and is driven into shrieking insanity. Think of the children!
1: RK Narayan is the exception that proves the rule.
2: And let’s not forget the curly hair.
Update: As has been repeatedly pointed out in the comments, Ravi Subramanian is an Iyer and not an Iyengar. I apologise for the mistake, and urge readers not to let this detract from the rest of the post. However, I just want to point out that:
- This actually reinforces the case for annihilating Ravi Subramanian. He has brought shame and disgrace to not only IIMB alumni, but also to Iyers.
- The point about Iyengar men not being good for anything except producing daughters still holds good.
- Of course, Iyer men are good for producing daughters also, along with everything else. Though in the case of Iyer daughters, the beauty is dazzling (though surpassed by Iyengars) and the charm is unsurpassed.
I also mistakenly ascribed Iyengarness to R K Narayan. Apologies for that as well. So please include him in the list of Iyers who should write, and incorporate davenchit as the exception that proves the rule.