Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Keep the Change - Book Review
The protagonist B. Damayanthi leaves behind a boring life with parents in Chennai and jumps into the cauldron of corporate life in Mumbai in this debut novel by Nirupama Subramanian. An only child of doting parents who are desperately trying to "settle" their only daughter into matrimony don't agree with the plans of apparently demure Damayanthi who harbors a wicked side, one that is revealed in her letters to her friend Victoria. Through this regular correspondence with Victoria we get a glimpse into the naughty workings of Damayanthi's mind as she pulls off a major coup by landing a job with First Global in Mumbai.
In what seems like a fairytale transition, the sheltered Damayanthi finds her feet in the world of corporate banking set amidst the landscape of the cosmopolitan urban jungle that is Mumbai. We meet characters such as the lovable Jimmy Daruwalla, her colleague and comrade-in-arms at First Global, CG - a management consultant hired for the special project that Damayanthi and Jimmy are relegated to and the too good to be true Rahul that Damayanthi falls for. Damayanthi's female accomplices are a sympathetic friend Sumi who periodically gives her gyan while obsessing about her soon to be fiance, while the "other woman" Sonya Sood, the hot roommate becomes a thorn who continually assaults Damayanthi's self-esteem with her suave and sophisticated ways.
The author skilfully portrays Mumbai through the eyes of a newcomer and deftly sketches the characters and plot with an easy touch of humor. There are laugh out lines in many places, particularly while describing the weird ways of doing business that seems to be the specialty of large corporations. The protagonist is a lovable character full of spunk and self-doubt, a mix of traditional values trying to find its place in a new world of fast lives and loose morals. There is not much in the way of a story, the plot is simple, moves forward steadily through the chapters and ends on a predictable note.
A simple, funny travel read.