Friday, November 29, 2013

#BookReview : Been There Bungled That by Paddy Rangappa

On the jacket:

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. 


When I read the blurb of this book, my first reaction was, "Oh! Another IIT+IIM story." and to be frank I began reading this book with not much of an interest. But two pages down, and I was quiet enjoying it.

The story is about Tamil boy Jagannath Srinivasan, Jags, from a well to-do nuclear family, and begins when he is doing his engineering from IIT. Rangappa has shown very subtle humour all throughout the book. In fact, on the cover of the book, there is a comment which refers to Rangappa as 'Wodehouse of India'. When I saw that, I actually stared at it with disbelief. No shit, that's no even possible! But no, Rangappa, does have a Wodehouse-ish streak to his writing. Subtle yet impressive takes on how we in India, sign up for courses based on a college's ranking, apply for jobs in offices which are ranked higher and don't really pause to think, what do we want?

The book has many chapters. Many. And that is the first good thing about it. Each chapter is an event and is not more than 2-3 pages. This also ensures that no event is dragged, instead, is crisp and captivating. There are some proof-reading errors, but that doesn't hamper the reading experience, to be frank. The author doesn't stretch the story much over the college or romance bit, which I loved. Jags' life moves one, one chapter at a time, and all through the book, you would either laugh out loud, or have a lop-sided grin on your face. Such is this book.

Rangappa is known to write, he has his own newspaper column. But writing a story is a different ball game altogether, yet it's difficult to fathom that this is his debut book. 

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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