Wednesday, August 31, 2005 Review

Words weave their tales
Two books that could keep you company, when your stuck in traffic.
2005-08-22 12:05

Books always give everyone chance. The readers get to live their experiences vicariously in the comfort of their homes while authors are given... well, a chance to write and if they are successful, then fame and pots of money as well.

Yet another book making news is 'Mediocre but Arrogant' written by a "Gomba". Well, this is not a pseudonym but stands for "grossly overpaid MBA!" Anyway, this book is about love in the time of management.

It's an interesting read, if you're still nostalgic about your college days. And while it also packs in the humour, 'Mediocre But Arrogant' by Abhijit Bhaduri provides you with an intuitive, insightful and reminiscent account of your student days.

The book has it all - from the college wisecrack, to the guy who plays Bob Dylan on his guitar, to the class hottie that every guy is trying to woo, bad hostel food and the works. But just in case you thought the title reflected the caliber of MBA graduates, the author himself a human resources graduate from XLRI rushes to explain.

Abhijit Bhaduri says, "With a very mediocre understanding of human relationships, when you do a course in HR or management or any kind of higher degree course, there is a certain amount of arrogance that comes into people, which says I begin to understand people. One of the greatest myths is everybody believes they are great at communication and great at working with people."

But the irreverent attitude doesn't go down well with the professors at IIM. Director of the IIM-Bangalore, Prakash G Apte says, "Life on MBA campus, especially at an IIM campus is quite tough. There is not much time left for love, let me tell you. We keep them busy from morning to evening, we demand a tremendous amount of homework from them!"
So, if love was such a forbidden fruit, that should make this book that much more compelling.

To read extracts of Mediocre But Arrogant :

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Interview on Malaysian National TV with Will Kuah

The bookstores in Kuala Lumpur do not have the book yet. A first time writer has to do everything (and you thought all they had to do was write?) - including visiting bookstores only to be told that by one helpful lady at the counter of Kinokuniya Bookstore ( at the Suria KLCC mall that "people rarely ask for mediocre books". How can one stay CCC ( Cool, Calm and Collected") when someone delivers a death blow to the ego? I showed her my copy of the book. She shrugged and said in her cute Manglish, "I agree, lah. But must try also can."

Got an opportunity to appear on The Breakfast Show of Malaysia's NTV7 with the fast talking Will Kuah who has a very MTV-ish personality and way of speaking. It was aired at 9:30am on 30th Aug 2005.

Difficult to ask insightful questions if you have not read the book fully - and he really had not been given time enough. Given that he had not heard of XLRI or Jamshedpur, he did not ask me the second most popular press question - is Management Institute of Jamshedpur just another name for XLRI, Jamshedpur? So he HAD to ask the obvious question - you guessed it - "Is Abbey your alter ego?" At least slightly different variation of "Is Abbey you?"

And when he wanted me to show the viewers some of Abbey's Classnotes, I kept flipping the pages desperately trying to locate one while trying to keep the conversation going and wondering why the lights had to be so bright that not only was I unable to locate any cartoons, all the pages seemed blank under the glare of a million spotlights. After what seemed like hours I located the one on Ayesha's eyes (my fave) and then changed my mind in case I offended any conservative viewer. Then settled for the sketch on Strategic Planning Classnotes of Pari.

Will said that as soon as Mediocre But Arrogant becomes a film, he will feature it on his other show called MY ENTERTAINMENT (ENG) Mon to Fri, 12PM which is an exciting, slick daily show that gives you the latest in international and local entertainment news. Covering music, movies, fashion and beyond.

Maybe some day even that will happen. After all where there is a Will (Kuah) there's a way.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

View From Kuala Lumpur

Am in Malaysia. Always good to be back - having spent three and a half great years here. Had a good time attending the Malaysian ad awards party (thanks to my friends Drs Bishun and Anjali Lal) that brings in the best of creative work around Asia Pacific.

Mediocre But Arrogant is now up to the second spot in the NDTV's list of best sellers
The list reads like this
No 1 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
No 2 Mediocre But Arrogant by Abhijit Bhaduri
No 3 The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
No 4 The Zahir by Paulo Coelho
No 5 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Am in Hong Kong from 31st Aug till 1st. Will miss the Merdeka Day (Independence Day) celebrations in Kuala Lumpur. The Twin Towers still look gorgeous when they are lit up.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Daily News & Analysis, Mumbai

Daily News & Analysis, Mumbai
10th August Page 9

Mediocre But Arrogant' MBA
New Jersey-based human resource professional and first time writer Abhijit Bhaduri unveiled his semi-fictional novel 'Mediocre But. Arrogant', at Oxford Bookstore, Churchgate on Tuesday. Having completed his post graduation in HR, from Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRl), Jamshedpur, his book is poignant yet has a witty1ook at life in a B-school reflecting the exuberance, paradox and pain experienced by the protagonist.

"The book is not autobiographical. Set in 1982, but reflective of the life and time of the handful of business schools in that period, and is relevant even now,” says Abhijit It narrates the story of Abhijit, popularly called Abbey, at the Management Institute of Jamshedpur, with all his shortcomings and anxiety.

Talking about the trepidation be encountered while writing his first book, he said. "It's very difficult to write humour. It's like bungee jumping. You never know if the rope will survive the drop."

Present at the launch was film director Shyam Benegal, who said, "lt could make a good film, but not by me by someone younger and fresh into the profession."

The book has been published by Indialog Publications, and costs Rs 195/-.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mediocre But Arrogant Hits Best Sellers List

Oxford Bookstore

1. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
2. The Hungry Tide -Amitav Ghosh
3. Mediocre But Arrogant - Abhijit Bhaduri
4. The Zahir - Paulo Coelho
5. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

Read an excerpt from the site

The Statesman, Kolkata 4th Aug 2005

For a few laughs
ABHlJIT Bhaduri's 'Mediocre But Arrogant’ was released at Oxford Bookstore on 3 August. It is a lighthearted read about the most coveted degree of the last three decades – the MBA

Published by Indialog Publications, the book revolves around Abbey, a MBA student. He said: "The protagonist is aimless, to an extent like me. When I was about to join high school, I did not know which stream to choose. I did not want to study science and humanities students had 'little scope', I took up commerce but nobody spoke of book keeping! It took me seven years to write the book but I'll be quicker with the sequel." The first of a trilogy the story is about Abbey doing his MBA. Book two follows Abbey into the corporate world and the third will be about Abbey pursuing his dreams."

Abhijit is a human resources professional and is currently posted in the US. The former student of Xavier Labour Relations Institute has also illustrated several books and is an accomplished cartoonist. He hosts a popular radio show in the US about classic Hindi movies and music on Radio EBC.

Also present at the launch was Russi Mody and Ram Ray, CEO Response India. Mr Mody said: "M stands for Modi but I don't know what MBA is all about. I've studied at Oxford University tor three years and I behaved like a lunatic, for I was there on my father’s money. So whenever someone speaks of MBA, I say good luck.” As for the ad guru, he said: "Reading the book was like going to a party, a party one does not forget. The book made me revisit college."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Book Review at The Week

Writers' World

Mediocre But Arrogant
by Abhijit Bhaduri, Indialog Price Rs 195 Pages 264

Reviewed by Debashish Mukerji

Pure serendipity no doubt, but campus novels seem to be becoming a hot new trend in Indo English fiction. Where there was a void earlier, three have appeared within a year. Chetan Bhagat's surprisingly successful Five Point Someone, about life at IIT; Sudeep Chakravarti's Tin Fish, enshrining Mayo College; and now Abhijit Bhaduri's effort. The acronym formed by the title points to its subject: the business school world. In this case, under the thinnest of disguises, the renowned Jamshedpur based XLRI.

All three authors have much in common: they are first-timers, successful professionals in diverse fields and alumni of the institutions they have written about. The books are similar, too: taking a wry, irreverent, but ultimately indulgent look at these premier institutions. In Mediocre But Arrogant, narrator Abbey joins the Management Institute of Jamshedpur, has initial misgivings, makes friends, finds girlfriends, works hard, plays harder and drinks a good deal to ultimately pass out of the institution and land a decent corporate job.
It is a delightfully honest account, a meticulously faithful rendering of the arduous demands and delicious diversions of an elite management school, with its formidable curriculum—subjects like quantitative techniques, organisational behaviour.

Its eccentric faculty—the likes of Father Hathaway or Professor Tathagata Chattopadhyaya are instantly recognisable; its in-house acronyms and nicknames; and its summer projects and placement interviews.
Loaded with humour and narrated at a cracking pace, here is the insider's account of B school life, which the latter's sleek prospectus will never reveal.

Source: The Week

Monday, August 08, 2005

XLRI - It was good to be home

It was good to go home. The release at XLRI was on 4th Aug 2005. The venue was the small audi. Seated left to right: Fr Casimir Raj, Director of XLRI, Dr Jittu Singh, Bushen Raina - MD Tinplate Co of India and Rana Sinha, President of the Jamshedpur Chapter of XL Alumni.

Having food at the XL mess was a great idea and Madhukar Shukla's brain child. That was followed by the XL band playing some terrific XL songs that have been composed over the years. I finally got to hear "XL di Kudiyan" (composer Rohit Munjal - who I finally met at Hyderabad).

Had chai and samosas at Niranjan's dhaba and then had a serious OMAXI meeting with Madhukar Shukla for the rest of the evening.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Kolkata Newsline - 5th Aug-2005

Alma Matter
Abbey is not Abhijit, declares the author of India’s latest alma mater novel. So will Abhijit Bhaduri be lucky with the book, or the proposed Bollywood film?
Shamik Bag
Kolkata, August 4: They went to the same school, St Xavier’s, Delhi, though Upamanyu Chatterjee was a year senior to Abhijit Bhaduri.
Years later, the two have met on common turf, as writers, and the coming of Abbey, Bhaduri’s protagonist in his debut novel, has followed the coming-of-age of English, August’s Agastya as contemporary Indo-Anglican fiction’s most sardonic and understated characters. And while Agastya took a cockeyed look at the highly-worshiped institution that is the Indian Administrative Service, Bhaduri’s Abbey harbours no romantic reverence or illusion for yet another middle-class Indian fixation: the MBA.
Bhaduri’s take on what is considered as the holiest (and most milking) cow among academic careers in India is explained from the title of the book, Mediocre But Arrogant, which also works as an acronym for the MBA profession. The name emerges from “a moment of despair of Abbey,” an MBA student of the fictional MIJ institute in Jamshedpur, when he feels that for a mediocre student like him, all the MBA stamp manages to do is to make him feel arrogant, the author explains.
Like Chatterjee, an IAS officer, Bhaduri sources his book from first-hand experience he gathered as an MBA student of the prestigious Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur. Bhaduri was in Kolkata’s Oxfordbookstore on Wednesday for releasing Mediocre But Arrogant, which is the first of an intended trilogy of Abbey novels. The author is at pains to explain, “the book is not autobiographical, neither is it meant to disillusion people about MBA.” “It is intended to take a funny look at life in the ‘80s, which is when I did my course. There are about one lakh people writing the CAT exam, but not every successful manager is an MBA. It’s a myth,” says Bhaduri, who is now based as a HR professional in the US. “And it is, I reassert, not an autobiographical book.”
In Mediocre But Arrogant, published by Indialog, Abbey is a direction-less Delhi-based youngster who goes to school and college in the city, till almost fortuitously he lands up in MBA school. Through a spree of events involving professors with thick Bengali accents and thicker sense of humour, roommates like Pappu, who sleeps over the campus interview rounds, and the head of the institution who brings in a sense of profundity, the first installment of the trilogy is apt material, Bhaduri thinks, for a Bollywood film. “I’ll be meeting a few producers when I visit Bombay later this month. I think the first book is just right for turning into celluloid form and its language will be a mix of Hindi and English. In the second book, we find Abbey becoming part of the corporate world and in the final book, he finally finds his calling. These two books don’t fit into the screenplay I have worked out,” informs Bhaduri.
Even when it comes to discovering his true passion, his creation shares a common streak with the author. A stage actor, an Indian classical musician, an accomplished cartoonist who once taught the art to readers of Target magazine, a host of a show on Bollywood’s classic films and music that gets aired on the US’ Radio EBC station — Bhaduri wears many creative hats. So has he found his calling through writing the book? “I wish it paid my bills,” answers Bhaduri, “But fact is, I still earn my bread and butter from my day job. It’s only the J.K. Rowlings of the world who can do it. I hope the book will be India’s answer to....ok take that out.”
Chetan Bhagat has earlier tried it with Five Point Someone and Sandipan Deb with The IITians. Bhaduri wants to be the third time luckier.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Campus Life in Book Pages from The Telegraph - Friday August 5-2005

Campus life in book pages
Abhijit Bhaduri signs on his book after its release at the XLRI auditorium.

Jamshedpur, Aug. 4: How much similarity is there between Abbey the protagonist of Mediocre But Arrogant and the author?
Abhijit Bhaduri insists that they were born on the same day, lived in a railway colony and studied in Sri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi. “But hey! There’s where the similarity ends. I am not Abbey. He is very practical but I take life as it comes,” comes the reply from Bhaduri.
The suave and enigmatic head honcho of a leading MNC in the US, is back at his alma mate, Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), to release his book Mediocre But Arrogant. Bhaduri calls his book a story about love and life in a business schools.
The story of the protagonist Abbey and his friends at the institute is filled with humour and had the audience in splits when Bhaduri read out excerpts from the book, anecdotes about Abbey’s roommate Pappu and his encounter with Ganauri the washerman.
Bhaduri reminded the audience that the book is not about XLRI in particular but its about how life is perhaps in any premier college.
“Every character and incident is generic we all might have met them at some point of life or other ,” said Bhaduri.
The book was formally released by B.L. Raina, managing director Tinplate company of India Ltd and president National Alumni Association XLRI. It was a nostalgic moment for everybody as well as the author as he spoke about the days spent at XLRI and his association with Tata Steel in the initial years of his career. The book is lined up for release in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Bhaduri is already writing the second part of this triology and is also in talks with producers in Mumbai to either make a movie or television serial based on the book.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Telegraph - Calcutta 4th Aug 2005

B-school, mediocre & arrogant- XLRI alumnus pens book on life in management institute

Bhaduri in Calcutta. Picture by Pradeep Sanyal
Aug. 3: “What’s common between J (JRD Tata), Russi (Mody) and me?” asks Abbey, an MBA student of a business school.
“A dismal academic record,” replies a friend.
“Leadership qualities,” counters Abbey.
Just one of the pearls of MBA wisdom expounded in the book Mediocre But Arrogant, by XLRI ex-student Abhijit Bhaduri, launched in Calcutta this evening. As the author read aloud extracts from the book, the audience — with an overwhelming majority of XLRI alumni — exchanged knowing looks and amused laughs.
“It’s a generic story, about college life and the hostel experience. It’s not autobiographical, neither are the characters real, but they are drawn from real people and actual events,” said the New York-based Bhaduri, director, human resource, for Colgate Palmolive Global. But with Jamshedpur as the physical backdrop, there’s no getting away from the XLRI touch.
“It’s not exactly about XLRI, its just like any other management institute,” said Abhijit. And why Jamshedpur? “I am familiar with every place in the city. For any author it is imperative to know the physical setting of his own story as it gives a realistic touch to the entire plot.”
He will be in XLRI for the launch of the book on Thursday.
Abhijit’s association with the steel city is not limited to his student days at XLRI. He was deputy divisional manger (management division) at Tata Management Development Centre (TMDC) from 1989 to 1994.
The Calcutta boy did his school and college education in Delhi, including a degree in law from Delhi University. But it was his post-graduation in human resources at XLRI that gave him the insider’s story on the MBA experience. The journey for the “novel on the love and life in a business school” began seven years ago. Mediocre But Arrogant is the first of a trilogy, with the next instalment already in the works.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Mediocre But Arrogant - Launched in Kolkata

The Venue: Oxford Book Store, Park Street, Kolkata
This is truly a book lovers heaven. Make that a book writers' heaven

Ram Ray, CEO Response advertising agency released the book with the Chief Guest Russi Mody adding to the buss with his characteristic comments about how "all education is a waste" !! Ram Ray swore that he had read and loved the book which not only had humour and punch but also brought in new insights.

Check out the link. Nest stop .... XLRI the management institute in Jamshedpur