Monday, March 7, 2011

The Wake-Up Call

What would you do if you are stuck in a dead beat job with a no forseeable future in an average mid-of-the-road organisation that is not growing, with a thought nibbling at the back of your mind that you can do something better than this? Would you get a wake-up call and do something about it? Or would you succumb to the pressures of daily life and expectations and continue on the same path?

That, in essence, is the core of Saptharishi Suresh's short 89-page book - The Wake Up Call!

CPT Technologies (literally Copy-Paste Technologies) is a run of the mill sweat shop where 'programmers' do copy-paste jobs from one sheet to another for clients. Really? I am sure Suresh could have come up with a better background for a software organisation. Nevertheless, Pandu (our protaganist) is a programmer at CPT getting frustrated with the humdrum copy-paste jobs, the 'incompetent' Project Manager - Prathap, Prathap's Man Friday - Crap and his friend Rocky. The only silver lining is his life seems to be his other room mate - Captain - Rocky being the room mate as well. Things come to such a head in office that Pandu quits his job and returns back to his hometown to contemplate his future. There is, of course, a girl waiting for him there - an ambitious one who sees him as her way out from the small town till she realises that he's quit his job. She sees her dreams crumbling only to be resurrected when he decides to start a business. She helps him get initial capital and encourages him in this new venture.

Suresh's writing style is simple and easy to read although he does need to brush up his English language a bit. There are sentences like "He kited with his grandfather" or "higherly valued product" that seem interesting in their usage. Suresh also uses the present-past style of writing where the chapters shift from present time to flashbacks and back again. It makes engaging reading as it holds the promise of future twists and turns. I am not sure if the length was intended or if Suresh did not give much thought to the characters but they seem undeveloped other than the protaganist Pandu. There are some interesting characters in the story that beg for development especially that of Rocky, his room mate; Aisha, Rocky's girlfriend and Captain, the mentor who puts things in perspective for Pandu.

While the story on the surface seems superflous there are some underlying themes that I would have loved for Suresh to explore and bring out. Suresh's angst against the system is evident in these themes but he shies away from bringing them to the fore. The apparent ease with which the 'backward classes' get seats in the colleges, the bribery and corruption possible to get a certificate to prove that you are from the 'backward class', the 'investment' done to an organisation to get a job, the 'marriage is the only solution' for an educated girl with no job situation, the fear of a father about his son's future, the job legacy aspect of a small town where a son can take over his father's job when he retires. A deep dive into some of these themes would have made the book a great one but Suresh only touches upon them as if afraid to open a box that he cannot explain.

Does Pandu succeed in this new venture? Does he love Nalini and marry her? Is this how he sees himself? Suresh leaves these questions unanswered towards the end but that is what makes you think about your own situation. The book has a great soul and a potential to be a great story but it needs more work. It leaves you wishing for greatness.

I would rate it 2.5/5.

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