Friday, March 23, 2007

David Rasquinha's Review of Mediocre But Arrogant on

David Rasquinha is an avid reader and reviewer of books. Starting off with his first review dated 14 Dec 1999 when he wrote about A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin, since then has written 118 book reviews and 1463 votes who find his reviews useful.

About him - as disclosed on the Amazon profile:

"I am from India, temporarily based in the USA. A banker by profession, I am fond of classical music and reading, amateur astronomy. I suppose my grounding in hard nosed economics and banking made me gravitate to science fiction and fantasy. I love reading about different worlds and more importantly, different world-views, seeing how characters interact. To me the most fascinating part of sci-fi is not the bells and whistles of technology but rather the effects of this technological change on society and human psychology."

Here is his take on M-B-A. Full disclosure: David Rasquinha and I were batchmates at XLRI, Jamshedpur, India. Over to you David.

Mediocre But Arrogant
by Abhijit Bhaduri
Edition: Hardcover
Availability: Currently unavailable

A coming of age book - with a difference, February 14, 2007

I loved this book at first browse! Let me admit at the beginning that I am not a disinterested reader. As a contemporary of Abhijit at XLRI, the real-life MIJ, "Mediocre But Arrogant" transported me back to 1982-84. I knew Abhijit then and always admired (with more than a touch of envy) his range of interests and his terrific interpersonal skills - he always seemed so easy in his skin. So it is likely that I am biased in favour of this book. Abhijit proclaims at the outset that the story is not autobiographical and that his protagonist Abbey is not Abhijit.

Without disputing that, several of the characters in the book, including some composite characters, the settings, many of the incidents and events he describes are immediately recognisable to his classmates. For students of the XL Classes of 1982, 1983 and 1984, this book will bring back many nostalgic memories and some rueful smiles as well. Having said that, this book lays claim to a far wider audience for it is many ways a "coming of age" novel. Bear in mind that the time period of this novel is the early 1980s: a time when India still slumbered, the software boom was still years distant and nobody had heard of the term BRICs.

Abhijit brilliantly conveys the tensions weighing on a young man in that time. The allure of idealistic college discussions over tea or coffee, the quest for an educational degree that would open the portals of the employment market and most of all the pressures, subtle and crude alike, to "grow up, get a good job and settle down". Followed by the tension filled competition to get admission into a business / technology school and "get placed".

This will strike an immediate chord with any Indian (and I daresay, international) student. At the real-life MIJ, as Abhijit says himself, we were blessed with excellent and dedicated professors and an incredible cross-section of students from the length and breadth of India. We learned as much from our interactions with each other, as from our classroom sessions. Abhijit has done a wonderful job of picking key incidents, characters and events which he weaves together into a story that is heartwarming, inspiring and bittersweet all at the same time. The gift for language and communication he so well displayed then, has well served him in this novel as well. My only grouse, and it is a minor one, is that his use of flashbacks to illustrate his points can be occasionally jerky and unduly discontinuous. A coming of age book that is well worth a read, for those coming of age now, and for those who did so a while ago, alike! I hope to read a sequel sometime!

1 comment:


u surely know how 2 write a review Mr.david.