'Watch Out! We are MBA!'
The title caught my eye the moment I entered the Crossword bookshop on Elgin Road. 'Caught my eye' is putting it rather mildly. Instead it scratched, bit and pummeled its way into my consciousness. Its title left nothing to doubt. One glimpse and I knew everything I had to know. Just another wannabe Indian author baiting clueless readers with the MBA tag.
Of course it could be plain jealousy. Another young Indian author with his book published while I drift along with hazy dreams of being a celebrated writer and no concrete evidence of getting there.
But then this is just another one in the whole slew of IIT-IIM books that have wormed their way into bookstores. Books include “Joker in the pack”, “IIM --> Ganjundwara", “Anything for you Maa’m”, “Above Average” and so on and so forth. The blame of course is to fall squarely on those who thought that they could get away with cloning “Five Point Someone”. While Chetan Bhagat’s first novel is good for a few hours of time pass (after which you must lend it to a friend and ask him not to return it), it irks me because without the IIT tag, it would have tanked. It works because we are normal people with average intelligence and we like to be assured that those who make it to the IIT’s and IIM’s are not demidgods but have problems just like you and me. Period. If the book instead had been based on an incident in just another ordinary engineering college we wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. It is by no means memorable. At some level all these books are Indian versions of "Snapshots from Hell", a nicely written account of life at Stanford. "Snapshots" was a lovely read. These Indian versions though are just sad.
I don’t think any of these books will be remembered a few years from now. It’s just a horde of wannabe writers with MBA degrees cashing in on the IIT, MBA craze. After all, don’t we all want to know what life is really like at IIM A?
The sight of 'Watch Out! We are MBA!' affected me powerfully. I felt like time was running out. With so many books coming out how was I possibly going to differentiate myself? What was I writing anyway? Did it not sound suspiciously similar to the very same material I had ridiculed?
I’d like to think that I will write something more enduring.