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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Abbey

its wonderful reading your book.Kept me awake all night to read each and every line that has been superbly done,your book takes me back to my memories of my own days at MBA institute of mine,though your experience's are much better (girls) than mine.But i would always be haunted by the question of Keya.Did she really come to Delhi and what happened to Ayesha and Rusty and PRIYA.All questions seem to be unanswered or u could come up with sequential to this book so that we could be more enlightened.Still a very good book

best of luck