Archive for the ‘ Books ’ Category

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.

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