When a pro-blogger like Sidin writes a book, he’s bound by the collective yoke of expectations. History proves that in most cases, such expectations about the ‘authorati’ tend to dissappoint readers to a great extent – Dan Brown’s latest being a case in the point.
But Sidin has bashed all his critics in style with Dork: The Adventures of Robin Einstein Varghese – his debut book, published by Penguin.
In a way, the book is an extension of Sidin’s blog. So is the story. So we have our unassuming hero Robin Varghese (with an interesting moniker of ‘Einstein’)who has a penchant for FRIENDS episodes and being unintentionally dumb; not to mention his proclivity for wild hangovers (some of which make you guffaw like the eponymous movie). So, Robin gets a ‘zero’th day’ placement at Dufresne Partners – a second rung consulting firm, as he passes out with 41st Rank from his prestigious ‘Ahmedabad BSchool’ (IIMA, obviously!). The story revolves around how his work-life at Mumbai spawns a series of blunders and misadventures, thanks to his ‘Einstein-ish’ abilities. 🙂
The plot unfolds in the form of a Compact-disc Word Document diary which Vadukut supposedly recovers from beneath a kitchen sink at his newly-rented flat! (Duh! whatay’ surprise! 😛 But Sidin almost makes you believe its true with perhaps, the world’s best ‘Introduction’) This diary-ish narrative, though tried and tested, is greatly invigorating. The high point of ‘Dork’ is Sidin’s insane humor. It’s earthy, and untiring. Each page offers you something to guffaw your lungs out – you actually have to exercise a wee bit of self-control when reading the book in public places (Yeah, I’m serious about this!!) There’s again a heady mix of mallu humour – Sidin’s forte. The book is fast moving and before you notice it, you’d have covered a hundred pages. The characterization (especially, of the protagonist) is also brilliant. Robin’s screwed up mind is brilliantly portrayed. Which brings us serious doubts of whether Robin is a pepped-down version of Sidin himself! 😛 He’s also strived his best to include references to modern times – ushering in a healthy mix of YouTube, Camera Phones, laptops, MS Excel and even a movie-obsessed protagonist! 😀
But as the book’s title inexorably suggests, ‘Dork’ has a deeper, probing intent. Robin unveils a full-scale Tehelka style ‘sting’ of Office culture! Every unethical practice in the corporate world is portrayed. We have cut-throat competition among employees, prostrate toe-licking of bosses by employees, plagiarism, and what not! At the end of the book, if you’re involved with a consulting company in some way or the other, you’d end that contract the very moment! And your mind would hesitate if you’re going to take up that fat pay check consulting job! Now, this is what I call laughable activism! 😀
Nonetheless, Dork does disappoint at some levels. The book is not for a non-management enthusiast – so if you aren’t too enamoured with office culture et al. you’d find Dork a long read, even with the humor. Not just that, the story has a very abrupt ending. Just when you thought Robin would have a stupendous ending, the plot comes to a nasty halt. Besides, there’s too much dissing of the corporate culture involved. At one point, the criticism reaches nauseating levels. Then again, there’s always a profusion of details – a veritable blitzkrieg actually, that flusters you.
Yet, Sidin’s style and humour continue to be the saving grace of this hugely endearing and satisfying book. Perhaps, on Part II (yes, there’s even more Robin on the cards!), Sidin should do a serious revamp.
A must-read, in any case.
My Rating: 9.6/10