Wednesday, March 4, 2009

keep off the grass - karan bajaj - review

Vipassana, Marijuana and the ‘F’ word are in abundance in this book but that’s not what you will remember after you close the book (hopefully after reading it).

About the Author

Karan Bajaj has spent a part of his life in Lucknow (Yes would love to mention this again!). He has worked with Procter and Gamble in India, Singapore, Philipines and U.S and was nominated a ’Top 40 under 40 marketers in the U.S.’ by Advertising Age in 2007.(source – wikipedia).

About the story (Naa! Not giving it away)

A Yale pass out is on his way to breach the million dollar pay cheque in manhattan before he hits 30 but is suddenly disinterested in everything….no no! He was actually not interested in this high life since long. If you are confused reading this then you will love what is on offer here!For starters, this isNO chetan Bhagat. You won’t get hindi movie type masala in it. What you get is raw action. You will either like it (like I did) or wont like it. The book actually introduces us to many emotional quagmires that our lead characters (1. Samrat, 2. Sarkar and at times 3.Vinod) face. Samrat is the main guy around which the story revolves and dances! After graduating from Yale, he comes to India (to IIM-B in particular) so that he can find his ‘roots’ and while he is at it, he can graduate from this premier institute (so that his uber rich parents don’t give him ‘you messed up with your perfect life’ look)

There is a hell lot of camaraderie in between the characters and it evolves further as the reader is made a part of all the constructive confrontations they indulge in. Be it the IIT pass out Sarkar who will put any pessimist to shame, or be it the ex-army man Vinod who is hell bent in realizing the ‘Indian dream’. The small incidences in the B-School, the petty politics, placement rush, marijuana, beer, rum, celibacy induced depression, its all here folks and not for a moment you will feel out of place or disgusted.

I would love to write more using some words used in the book but I am sure I will be banned for life (I shall keep it for my blog then!)

Some pointers:

1. There are enough pot shots at the American education system
2. You have got to read the second para of page 211
3. If you plan to TEST the book then just read the epilogue
4. There is enough mention on the typical Indian attitude of calling westerners racist when back home (in India) we have cases like North Indians being beaten up in Maharastra, Every state hating the residents of other state!
5. There is a quick reference made to Vipassana
6. There is Mr. Ruskin Bond somewhere (go find him!)
7. Suicides in top B-Schools also gets an incident to its credit (credit – wrong term to use)

I can just go on and on but I won’t. Go read the epilogue and if you survive it, read the book and you will know why.There are times when people spend their lives pining for permanency, moving here and there and it just takes them one moment and a series of small irrelevant events to make them realize home is where the heart is.

 I couldn’t believe this book had this message as I struggle with the same problem these days, but I do have some hope (not giving any credit to the book by the way!!) and it was nice to read something which echoed the same (albeit with some strange events weaved in the process)!Please rate and leave comments on my review

Peace and equanimity to all and always

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