By Paddy Rangappa. Grade A
This book is not a novel.
Reading the overleaf, I’ll admit I had myself braced for one of those typical ‘made it through IIT+IIM, conquered the world’ sort of write-ups that typically entertain a large multitude of yawns from anyone who bothers reading it.
This book is not boring.
Jagannath Srinivasan, also referred to as Jags, is a bright, albeit highly confused, upwardly mobile male armed with an enviable IIT + IIM education. He drifts through life in benign auto pilot, easily swayed by things he reads, people he meets and advice he receives. One day while trying to break into his professors house to submit a late assignment he chances upon a girl who he ultimately marries.
Armed with a wife, he is let loose to make his mark on the world. Step aboard as Jags goes from one job to another and one country to another with his self-deprecating humour and idiosyncratic view of cultures. Life is infinitely happier when you can laugh at yourself experience it with the lovable Jags as he bungles and stumbles through it.
P.R. has done a remarkable job of putting together pieces of Jag’s (Jagannath Srinivasan- fictional character) life, each redolent of a short story more than a biography, and executing so with such dollops of satiricity: So much that it resembles a work of art that can sate the pallette of O’Henry himself. Each chapter follows an identical pattern without making it the least lethargic for the reader. It’s an abrupt beginning, followed by showcasing of the author’s experiences and the hilarity of his reactions, then an equally abrupt and funny end. This is then sequeled by a clincher (ranging from high brow humour to cheap laughs), making the reader grin, guffaw and with gusto, read the next one.
The funniest kind of humour is often at someone else’s expense (yes, I’m a sick person) and P.R. has approached this fictional biography by making the protagonist that very character. With Jags approaching the world with the extremely cliched/commonplace follow-the-herd attitude, this satire highlights the idiocy of the common so called ‘successful’ person without stressing too much on it: keeping it light and a fun read.
The book is no Illiad, it’s just a classier version of the masala genre that us readers are only too familiar with. It is the written denomination of ‘Peanuts’ (the comic strip) that invariably induces smiles with each part. A recommended read.