Updated: October 4, 2009 20:33 IST

More management tales

Sheila Kumar
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Married But Available; Abhijit Bhaduri; Harper Collins; Rs 195.
Married But Available; Abhijit Bhaduri; Harper Collins; Rs 195.

Another MBA tells his particular story.

Abhijit Bhaduri follows up his first novel Mediocre But Arrogant with this ‘MBA’ and warns that another MBA (Middle-Aged But Active) may yet be in the offing. Chetan Bhagat opened some kind of floodgates and this genre (IIT lit? MBA lit?) is what the waters are bringing in.

Plain language

Bhaduri gets off to a sluggish, even disjointed start, then gets into his groove gradually. His groove is his book’s groove, of course, and it’s a story of a management grad, his wine, women, song and career, not necessarily in that order. Bhaduri uses plain, unvarnished, unpretentious if unstylised language, communicating straight to the reader and infuses his tale with a strong autobiographical tone. While the book, the story, could have done with some amount of literary flourish, this, too, is literature, as the aforementioned Chetan B has shown us.

And so, Bhaduri’s hero, Abbey passes out of IIM, Jamshedpur, gets into Balwanpur Industries, works at the township, chafes at the fishbowl existence he has to live there out of necessity, marries, gets estranged from, romances a woman or two, and slowly climbs up the corporate ladder. There is no discernible line of wit in the book; at best it is a collection of puerile jokes; the IIM gang comprises the usual suspects; the career climb is predictable, the women all coalesce into one another, come and go without leaving much impact. So what is the leavening factor in this ‘MBA’, a tenuous title at best? It’s lessons learned on the job which Abbey/Bhaduri imparts in a chatty tone that loses no relevance in the telling.

Human Resource/Human Capital Practice/Personnel Management, whatever the term du jour is, it’s a fast moving track, creative and exciting, a track where you think as you run. To that extent, Bhaduri’s case histories with their solutions, make for interesting reading. The way Abbey handles the enforced VRS scheme initiated by the MNC that takes over Balwanpur Industries, is both informative and entertaining.

And then, at the end of the book, Bhaduri seems to revert to type… he ends as he begins, i.e., with a jerky conclusion, a needless death and an abrupt dropping of curtain. Who knows, maybe he’ll rectify this in his third MBA. Stranger things have been known to happen.

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