keep off the grass

just finished reading ‘Keep off the grass’ by Karan Bajaj. its an interesting read, definitely worth a one time effort, though it isn’t in the league of the author’s personal favorite, ‘English, August’.

honestly, i don’t read that much of ‘Indian writing in english’, i don’t quite agree with that phrase either. why should there be such category when there isn’t a ‘Spanish writing in english’ or anything else? The categorisation is meaningless. however, the reason why i don’t read much of it is that i usually get tired of descriptions of India, hindi words in italics… they always seem to make me feel like a tourist than a reader. am sure the writer’s have their reasons (primarily that the core market is not India but the rest of the world), but they just don’t make it a pleasurable read for me. There are some that i like, of course, English, August being one, also, Malgudi Days, and Shadow Lines.

i picked up this one because i remembered reading out about in the paper sometime back, and to be honest, when i read the intro about the author being an MBA & a management consultant, i was sceptical about what kind of book it would end up being. so i was fully prepared to find it trying too hard. but thankfully, it wasn’t. it’s a good read, you can read it straight through in a few hours, and i definitely wanted to know how it would end. it’s funny, has some fairly good descriptions & even though i haven’t been to IIM, i can understand the author’s point of view on the relentless, brutal competitive environment.

(on another note, for all of us well educated post grads, here’s an article that challenges some of our conventional notions: the disadvantages of an elite education)

back to the book, added to all that is the indian from america angle, all of which makes for a good story. some excerpts:

at least Sarkar, was getting something out of business school, i thought, he seemed to have mastered the entire supply chain, distribution & marketing of marijuana in India.
I wasn’t enough of a risk-taker, or for that matter, engaged enough in life to be bothered about leaving a legacy. I was content to muddle along, dream of glory but not act on it, read books of greatness but never be inspired enough to be the subject of one.
You are afflicted by the Superman Syndrome. have you ever seen Superman pause to think? Of course not. Thinking is a distraction to his goal of keeping forever busy. Result, he spends as much energy saving the world, as he spends chasing penny thieves. No prioritisation time, no thinking time. That’s the Superman Syndrome. Just keep moving, fill every second of your day with activity, meaningful or not, to delude yourself into believing you are being productive.

unfortunately, to my mind, it falls short of being a great novel because everything seems just enough to gloss over but nothing gets into the depth where you would feel that you are living the life of the character, that you get the kind of experience that changes perspective. the glossing over helps to keep the pace going, but leaves the novel as not memorable enough, not enough to draw you in and have you thinking about it for days afterward. that was disappointing. Karan Bajaj says in his foreword, “if my book can touch even one person the way English, August or Delhi is Not Far touched me, the number of trees felled to print this would be justified somehow!”. doesn’t quite get there. but to have written & successfully published a novel of this kind before the age of 30, that’s something definitely commendable.

am now onto Oscar & Lucinda – Peter Carey.

    • Che
    • August 12th, 2008

    Hmm you dont like to read Amitav Ghosh?

    • Namrata B
    • August 12th, 2008

    @cheyes i do like to read amitav ghosh – mentioned shadow lines too in the post. in fact i went for the book release of sea of poppies when he was here at crossword, got myself a signed copy 🙂 but haven’t started reading it as yet.

    • Che
    • August 12th, 2008

    ah crap missed that. this is what happens when you try to be sneaky at work and read blogs when you are supposed to be thinking about client briefs.Amitav might just be my favorite indian author but I havent read many to affirm that. Lucky you! I havent got my hands on that one yet. Lemme know if its worth splurging on.

  1. Did Steve Harvey copy the book title Act Like A Lady Think Like A Manand theme from an earlier book? Book with same title & theme copyrighted and published by Sharon P. Carson in 2003 CHICAGO, IL – Sharon P. Carson the author of the original title: Act Like A Lady –Think Like A Man, watched the February 27th episode of the Ophra show on which Steve Harvey was promoting his book of the same title. She was hoping that Steve would reveal to Oprah where he got the title and the theme for the book. It just seemed odd to her that his book had the same title and theme as her book that was copy written in 2003. Upon subsequently purchasing the book, she found some interesting parallels and realized that it is not unusual for a high profiled person to take a great title and theme, rewrite a book and use their celebrity status to sell it. This she says happens too often to the unsung poets, authors and entrepreneurs of the world. Steve wrote in his book that his hope was to “empower you with a wide-open look into the minds of men”. Sharon P. Carson wrote in her book in 2003 that her hope was for women to gain some insight into how men think in terms of relationships. Sharon also noted that in chapter 8 of Steve Harvey’s book titled “Why Men Cheat” he came to the same conclusion that she did in chapter 37 of her book, titled “Why would a man cheat”, and the answer was, “because they can”. Sharon actively promoted her book before the release in January 2009 of Steve Harvey’s book, and would not like to see her promotion efforts hindered. She feels that her book has much to offer from a woman’s perspective and seeks to empower women to practice self love and tough love in relationships. Before the publication of Steve Harvey’s book of the same title, Sharon bought the domain name: from which she has been selling her book. She has also held seminars with women at a Chicago University in promotion of her book, and can be viewed on the following youtube clip as she was being interviewed on a cable television program about her book in 2007 Mindful of all the self – published poets and authors who have a hard time finding publishers for their works, Sharon is currently consulting with attorneys regarding her options, and hopes that her book with the first and original title of Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man will finally receive the recognition it deserves for the wisdom, encouragement, and empowerment that it provides to women.

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