Thursday, September 29, 2005

Deccan Herald's List of Bestsellers

1. Eldest; Christopher Paolini (Doubleday, Rs 695)
2. Shalimar the Clown; Salman Rushdie(Jonathan Cape, Rs 595)
3. Five Point Someone; Chetan Bhagat (Rupa, Rs 95)
4. Shantaram; Gregory David Roberts (Abacus, Rs 411)
5. Are you afraid of the Dark; Sidney Sheldon (HarperCollins, Rs 195)
6. Mangal Pandey; Rudrangshu Mukherjee (Penguin, Rs 150)
7. Mediocre But Arrogant; Bhaduri (IndiaLog, Rs 195)
8. Inscrutable Americans; Anurag Mathur (Rupa, Rs 95)

Source: Landmark Forum
Deccan Herald - 18 September 2005

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

From the land of Charminar and Biriyani

dear mr b
Just finished reading ur "MBA"...comparisons with "In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones" is inevitable and the gut response is u are good. Campus lores are mostly delightful and ur writing is v smooth -- --- thanx for a good read!!
Had borrowed this volume from the Sens (Subroto n Sanjukta) and had a read n return deadline to catch before they rushed off to bombay.......hope to pick up a copy for myself from a Hyderabadi bookstore soon....
Meanwhile keep the good work going....

Damayanti Mukherjee

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sonny says... Yeh Dil Maange More

I enjoyed M.....B....A immensely. Having started it I could not stop reading it and thankfully it was a great companion on a long international flight. You did brilliantly well in switching the pace and the narrative with multiple little plots in play was absolutely engrossing. Abbey was real and all of us who have been through a similar education pattern can relate with many of the characters. Great reading - I did not want the book to end. Yeh dil maange more!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The First Reading in US at Gautam and Ipsita's

It was a lovely setting. Candles and soft music set the mood for the evening. It certainly helps that Ipsita is a very talented architect and interior designer. Gautam and Ipsita Goswami had chosen their living room area to create a great setting for a storytelling session. Gautam (an IIT and IIM-A alumnus and now a Prof at a Business School in New York) had already raced through most of the book earlier. He set the mood by sharing his perspective of the story and what he found interesting about the book. The smell of rain was still fresh in the air as we all huddled around on floor wrapped in sheets and rugs and talked about the book and our times in the college till the wee hours of the morning.
Thank you Gautam and Ipsita for making the first reading so memorable.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Get an MBA free...

XLRI, Jamshedpur is organizing Homecoming 2005 on19-20 November 2005.
Be there in XL and get a free M-B-A (Mediocre But Arrogant).

S Harinarayana - also an XLer from 74 BMD who runs Fortuna Consultants, Hyderabad, India has magnanimously offered to gift Mediocre But Arrogant to all XL alumni who attend the Homecoming 2005.
All the XLRI alumni who attended the book's launch in Bangalore and Hyderabad got a free copy too last month.

Thanks Hari

Monday, September 19, 2005

Mehul Pandya writes...

Dear Abhijit,

Congratulations and compliments for an exceptionally well written book.

Though, I am not from XLRI, I appreciated the theme and description of Abbey, Priya, Keya and Ayesha, Rusty, Gopher etc and others. Being a part of the HR fraternity, (I did my MHRM in 2001 from MS University, Baroda and currently with PwC) the book took me back to my PG days. Many of the events from your story also resembled some of the events in my life at my B-school and couldn't help but to compare them and drifting into past.

It is like the vicious circle that when you are a child at a school, you want to go to college; when you are in college, you want to be in job and when you are in job, you want to go back to school as a child. It made me read your book at a stretch and over the last weekend, I finished reading it.

However, I would have expected to hear more about Keya and Abbey and still wondering what happened to that? If you had the liberty to complete the story to be a happy ending, what would have been your story? Perhaps, I would have also imagined Abbey entering into a serious relationship with Ayesha.

But anyways, congratulations and compliments again. It was worth spending two days at XLRI (virtually) .

Kind regards,
Mehul Pandya

Friday, September 16, 2005

An Army Commander's Take ...

I was a little lucky to lay my hands on ' MEDIOCRE BUT ARROGANT ' authored by your honour. I am not competent enough to review this excellent portrait of some of us who plan or happen to be at institution of learning . Nevertheless once we are there, the sculpturs are there to give shape & convert the novices into the architects of nation of tomorrow.
Maintains reader's excitement to reach the last page -- the real essence .
Thanks for making the book a great reading & looking forward to very many such wonderful books by you , sir
Yours Sincerely
Commander S K Sharma ( Retd )

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Anubhuti Sharma of Hewitt, US wrote to say

"Mediocre But Arrogant is a walk down a familiar road…. on each page I met people I knew, revisited places I’d been and felt the feelings I had trying to find my way….as Abbey’s train pulled away from Tatanagar for the last time, I was once more sad to leave my own memories behind. This book is timeless – the characters and their experiences will resonate with anyone who has lived on an institute campus….

Abbey and his friends re-create the magic of sipping chai with friends, strumming drunken songs through early hours, making “life or death” decisions on love and life, tackling colorful professor personalities and their colorless assignments, and in the end winning a ticket to the corporate circus – somewhat wiser.

As one turns to the end, one can’t help but feel a certain wistfulness for the memorable moments that have passed in the company of old friends."

Friday, September 09, 2005

Satarupa Ray's Interview at

A man of many interests, Abhijit Bhaduri has illustrated several books and is an accomplished cartoonist. He loves the theatre and was a popular voice on All India Radio where he read the news in English and participated in a number of radio plays and music based shows. He now hosts a popular radio show in the US, about classic Hindi movies and film music.
On a recent visit to the city of joy, Abhijit Bhaduri launched his debut novel, Mediocre but Arrogant at Oxford Bookstore ( Kolkata. Here along with the stalwarts of Indian industry and advertising – Mr Russi Mody and Mr Ram Ray, the author and HR professional, regaled the audience with their take on MBA – that coveted degree, which, for the last three decades, has been deemed mandatory for ascending the corporate ladder. Russi Mody, with his customary wit, lamented his lack of the requisite degree, but seemed to “manage” well enough during his 58 years at the helm of TISCO, several instances of which he recalled with nostalgia and humour. Commending the author on his work, Ram Ray, CEO Response ( said that reading the book was like attending a great party – the sort that stays in your memory. The author then took centrestage, and read with considerable theatrical skill, certain highly amusing anecdotes about Abbey, the protagonist, his friends and professors, which immediately transported the audience to their college days. The reading was followed by an interactive session and the consensus that emerged was – the purpose of higher education was to facilitate and acquire knowledge of oneself and of the world. In an exclusive interview with the Content Team, Abhijit Bhaduri spoke about his trilogy, the readers and higher education in India.

Interviewed by Satarupa Ray
Designed by Subhadip Mukherjee

On his debut bestseller novel, Mediocre but Arrogant
Mediocre but Arrogant is a book about the essence of being young and being yourself. It is about growing up and discovering yourself in the process. The story is a generic one – a slice of life that all of us have gone through – and has been given an universal format.

On his readers, who have read, re-read and not read his book as yet
You should sit back and think about the good times you have had in life. After reading the book, you miss your friends so much that you give them a call, as you have not got in touch with them for so many years.

On why his book stands out amidst several other bestsellers
The purpose of education (in a management institute) is not to learn about management theories but to make you realize that you have the ability to make the world a better place. Many people do believe in this. The book drives home this simple idea about life.

On the trilogy of which Mediocre but Arrogant is the first one
The trilogy is about the three phases in a person’s life.
1) The first book tells the story of Abbey as a student.
2) The second book shows Abbey in the throes of mid-life crisis. In Mediocre but Arrogant, Abbey went to MIJ feeling that he was a genius knowing it all only to realize that he knew so little. He goes through this same phase in the second book but now he is a part of the corporate world. All the preconceived notions break down. The world jolts you in a way that you wonder whether that idealism was really required or not. So don’t let this happen to you and don’t become cynical.
3) The third book is about pursuing your dreams. You have a vocation that is very different from your profession. There is a calling – i.e., your dream in life. No matter what, don’t give up the ability to dream. Continue to dream regardless of your age.

On higher education in India
India has rich opportunities. Cost of education when compared to universities abroad is really nothing. We have a tremendous resource in our fantastic education system. Indians are doing so well all over the world. Thomas Freidman in his book, The World is Flat has said, “India is the place of the future”. I feel it’s our education that makes us walk tall.
Most importantly, we have a social support system that is taken for granted by us. Such a social support system is non-existent in a country like the US. We have social nurturing of relationships without expectations. When you are down, a light-hearted adda with your friends or family is taken for granted in India, but in the US this is taken as invasion of your privacy.
I am glad that our education teaches us how to build relationships and how to work with people.

To the young people who do not make it to the best institutes in the country
As Abbey prepares to face life, Father Hathaway tells him, “Never underestimate your ability to make a difference.” It’s strange but funny yet I truly believe in it. It’s amazing how many different things we can do in the world and make a difference to the world.

On Chetan Bhagat, author of the bestseller, Five Point Someone
I appreciate anyone who has gone through the process of putting an idea in the form of a book. I know how tough this is. It took me seven years to write Mediocre but Arrogant.

On his favourite authors
Satyajit Ray, Sunil Ganguly, Shankar, Bani Basu, Joy Goswami, Upamanyu Chatterji, Arundhati Roy…the list goes on…

On three books that have made a difference in your life
1) The Mahabharata – It gives the most comprehensive perspective of life.
2) Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet– It talks about everything - marriage, love, justice, and children.
3) Sudhir Kakar’s books – These give you an understanding of self and society. As a student of organizational behavior and psychology, his books have been of great help to me.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Interesting Contest: Another Oxymoron? is running a contest around oxymorons. If you like them too, here's your chance to win some prizes. Here's what their site says:

"In Mediocre but Arrogant, Abbey’s friend, Rascal Rusty jots down oxymorons in his notebook. Read the book and send us Rascal Rusty’s favourite oxymorons along with five of your own oxymorons to Please ensure that your entries are original. Abhijit Bhaduri will select the best oxymorons and we will feature them on his section.

If you have any queries for Abhijit Bhaduri, do send them to us at He will be delighted to reply to your queries."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Breakfast Show on NTV 7

Reading an excerpt from the novel Mediocre But Arrogant. Click the picture to play video.

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Set in a fictitious B-School...

Interview on NTV 7's Breakfast Show with Host Will Quah. Click the picture to play video

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Sumita Ambasta's Review of the Book

Book Review: Mediocre But Arrogant
by Sumita Ambasta
Monday, September 05, 2005

Before anything, a necessary admission must be made. I started reading the book with the attitude that I read the handouts and literature in XLRI, the business school both the writer Abhijit Bhaduri and I got our dubious distinction of being “Mediocre But Arrogant” in. This attitude, in one word, is flippant. Therefore, my surprise at the journey Abbey, the protagonist, embarks on in the book, deftly and sensitively portrayed by Bhaduri’s skillful narration, has the power to jolt the most cynical ones among us into at least one moment of thought. Each of those possible thoughts though, hide behind funny encounters, and matter of fact incidents that have never given us pause before. In that, Abhijit has succeeded in examining what exactly is the role of higher education in a society that values material success of exterior kinds, involving degrees, wealth, corporate positions, and fame. And he does it while making one laugh and cry, in a world that is funny, erotic, irreverent and colorful in ways we have never viewed it. Yet, these lovely memories haunt all of us, who have been through any kind of education.The labyrinths of succeeding in corporate world is a topic done to death before, but here one will find insights, specially in the form of a character called Rascal Rusty that gives new face to what it means to be Darwinistically ambitious. He has the capability of finding resonance and empathy with our dark sides which desire to be successful, not knowing how to reconcile it with the “nice” image we also aspire to at the same time. Abhijit has created an amazingly real character with public and private sides that exist but not acknowledged before. The part which might create controversy in India is Abbey’s sexual adventures. The younger generation will identify with how real the dynamics of his multiple loves and numerous women portrayed in the book is. I do see however, the parents (and teachers) uncomfortably squirming at the prospect of amorous sides of students being discussed as openly as it has been here. From some reports, I believe this discomfort at “good students at good educational institutions do not indulge in these escapades” has already been expressed in the media by one of the directors of a prominent management institute after reading the book. This educator may be clearly uncomfortable with the sensitive and erotic side of a normal young student, but no-one will dispute that this has to be the most real account of student life one has read in contemporary times. Even if some of it leaves a questionable taste in one’s mouth, as reality does too. This exploration is wonderful and younger readers might find things there that may be of myriad values. The book has illustrations that give it a distinct flavor and create images that Abhijit intends to share. Its acronyms, a part of student life, may sometimes get a little difficult for non XLers to follow, even though each and everyone has been painstakingly explained. A ready reference would have helped. It does create a real environment of school life though even in this. For readers who might complain about this, it might serve a good reminder that any kind of literature is set in a time and place and cannot be completely understood without understanding the details of that temporal reality. It does not affect one’s ability to enjoy the book though. The story and its conclusion, or lack thereof, is not important. We all have heard it before, even lived it in our experiences or in another’s. It is the process, the journey that Abhijit narrates with a flair of a wonderful travel writer in images and descriptions that transport us elsewhere through words, is what stands out. The only difference is, the journey is not in any geographical place, but Abbey’s mind and his being. Anyone interested in such journeys will relish the nakedness of thought and feeling in this book, even while squirming uncomfortably at seeing how it is laid out for all to know and read. It is intimate, vulnerable and yet not unnecessarily emotional, something that is a difficult balance to create. It is deliciously funny and irreverent at the same time, an astonishing feat.The larger setting that stood out was how the threads of exploration in this book relate to greater realities of outsourcing, globalization and transformation of identities. Not that the book deals with any of this directly. It might, if Abhijit writes a sequel, which I sincerely hope he does. A non- Indian reader, for instance, may be struck by what goes into the people who are challenging established meritocracies globally through outsourcing and global movement of talent. Is the professional who emerges out of a country like India merely struggling to survive, or is there greater questioning of education, identity, self and all these concepts in this process? Does this process have any implication on how things will be shaped in future? Many XL students, like their counterparts from other similar institutions in India have gone through Abbey’s journey. This may create an impact on where they end up in life, something Abhijit has left undefined, in this book. Well, the imagination is endless and its only when reading the book, will these possibilities emerge.

Read her blog at