Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"If God was a Banker " and " Keep the Change"

I do not know if it is the success of Chetan Bhagat or is it that I have only recently started going through the book shelves of contemporary Indian authors -- but I found the shelves abound with novels with IITians and banking as the background. I picked up recently, Ravi Subramanian's  'If God was a banker' and Nirupama Subramanian's 'Keep the change' .

'If God was a banker" talks of two new entrants to a foreign bank and their growth to the top . While both do work hard, one rises through sincerity and  the other  uses deceit. The author does a good job and I was sometimes reminded of  Arthur Hailey's ' The money changers' . 
The book had me flummoxed and I kept thinking is this how things work in Mumbai at private banks. As I read ahead, I would think of people I had met with similar designations and would wonder about them  (read , were they part of this big bad world). The book left me wondering how much of it was fiction and how much of it real. I remembered watching the movie ' Life in a Metro' and my discussions with friends many of whom said the movie did reflect reality in still confused. Frankly, what I wonder the most is how  does one  find a place for a clandestine rendezvous without  bumping into someone u know...:) :) :) 

Nirupama Subramanian's 'Keep the Change ' was refreshing... While I would not call it brilliant, I loved the flow of words and her easy style of writing. ( I am also partial to lady authors).  It talks of a Tamilian girl who moves from Chennai to Mumbai and the way she adapts to the change  and her search for a life partner.   It started with  some irreverent gems like   " In this unfair world, a boy looking like a constipated blob of ectoplasm can aspire to get a fair, beautiful, well-educated girl who can do the Bharatnatyam while singing Meera bhajans and make ten kinds of rasam..." and was I hooked! ..

Amidst  de-glamourising a  plum job in a  foreign bank , one thing which struck me was the usage of words... For instance, the protagonist named Damayanthi has been assigned the task of re-engineering the bank operations. She is in a review meeting with her boss where he asks her if she had noted anything significant.   I quote 
" I remembered someone talking about the time it took to get a simple query resolved and another one saying it took too bloody long to get a letter of  credit opened. 
 'There were some issues on turnaround times', I remarked. ' These were more evident for certain processes like complaint resolution'..."
Was I grinning from ear to ear. I remembered my transfer from plant site to corporate office at IPCL. The change in lingo had me amazed, impressed.... and after some time exasperated when I found one HR guy using  "buzz " words even in his farewell party... 
Don't get me wrong. I do believe the right  words do give a different flavour to sentences, to interpretations..for instance 'secret' rendezvous explains the situation sufficiently but a clandestine rendezvous gives a further emphasis on the background of the meeting... But as Abhijit Majumdar in his wonderful article " Who Moved My English" says "You no longer speak to explain. You speak to impress, to baffle"... A reading of his article will elaborate further

I would love to know from my friends in India   if this English of buzz words still rules in the working world. Do you  feel as an employee that it does make a positive difference to how one is perceived using English in this manner over plain simple English. I would also love  to know from those are  in senior positions how do they view this trend.. I would also love  to know from those    who have observed working styles both in India and  abroad , if this lingo works abroad too..

Would also love to hear of any book you have read of contemporary authors which you have enjoyed...

Have a great day! 


  1. I know you read a lot. Keep writing on your best reads,esp about those from India.

    Buzz words would turn cliche fast by over usage. Another boring corporate item is the "acronymization" everything.

  2. Here's a link related to the impact of choice of words -

  3. buzzwords are handy when you don't know the answer

  4. :) thanks for your nice words about If God was a Banker. Glad you liked it... (and even shocked u a bit) :) Ravi Subramanian

  5. Am I maha thrilled, zapped !!!! The author himself!!!!!!!!!!! Wow!!! Wow!!! Wow!!! Look forward to reading other books by you, Ravi... My weekend made!! me all smiles!!!!!!!!!