Why did I read this book?
The appeal of the plot lies in the insider outlook on the IIT-IIM-management consulting life of our protagonist. Right from the Chetan Bhagat days in 2005, Indian writes seem to have oversold the idea of IIT engineers, the spotlight getting transferred to IIM MBA grads, and of more recently to top tier management consultants.
Well, who doesn’t like being privy to the life of the individuals who make it to these hallowed portals?
The Plot Summary
Our protagonist here has recently graduated from IIM A and joined a consulting firm. While this may seem wonderful in theory, our protagonist here lands himself up in numerous sorts of trouble. He nearly misses his job offer with Dufresne Partners owing to a address bungle, gets drunk in an office party only to have costed the client millions (in bad PR) and in parallel has no luck with his ladylove as well!
Also, do we like our protagonist? He is one of those typical naive-and-stupid guy who can be found in every batch of every single college that exists on this earth. He is the kind of guy who sports thick framed glasses, has oil dripping down his hair, has a stupid grin stuck on his face all the time – you know who I am talking about, right?
Well, does the mundane life of Robin “Einstein” Varghese, have all the masala for an young Indian fiction? Atleast, it appears so!
What are my views on the book?
I will begin by systematically analysing what are grave errors in every part: The plot, the characters and the factual . Let us start with some contextual and factual errors.
First, the randomness and absurdity of the IIM Cluster-wise Placement process is captured in a very absurd manner. If the intent of the author is to humour the audience by exposing the flaws in the system, then the book is a very feeble attempt. The process, flawed as it may be, is designed as such, that the most crucial two hours are from 8AM to 10AM, how then can our protagonist afford to while away his precious hours in hallucinating? Also, anyone who has been in the process can easily identify that, a mediocre student getting hotlists from top I-Banks (JPMC, Barclays) and Consults (McKinsey) for IIM A final placements is outrightly unrealistic. It would have made more sense to perform segmentation analysis on the batch, map it to the respective companies, and then justify his job at Dufresne Partners.
Second, management consulting firms, irrespective of size and scale, do not indulge in making robust powerpoint presentations by manipulating content from Wikipedia. On the contrary, analysts and consultants are expected to be concise and original in their analysis and insights. Not only do the Dufresne partners endorse such blatant violation of copyright, but even promote these consultants to fast-track growth and client office!
At this point, I will draw you to the character sketch of the protagonist – Robin Varghese. He is perhaps the most dumb, egotistical, misogynistic, distasteful character I have ever encountered in a book. Everyone is a “bastard” to him. And his outlook towards women is demeaning and objectifying. Allow me to provide some context here: His encounter with loveliest lasses including his batch-mate Gouri Kalbag and particularly the buxom babe called Megha,fantasising about love-making with those lasses, his constant use of profanity against his colleagues and other such obscene histronics. Well, to the author’s benefit, one can surmise that business schools with their skewed gender ratios and non-male stereotypes is bound to have such collective mentality. However, what he misses is that, the fraction of such people is limited and that too evolves with time. All his characters, are borne out of the stereotypes in his head, with absolutely no room for originality or pragmatism. They keep moving in and out of the narrative at their own whims and fancies!
Now third – the course of his life and central plot of the book – so unrealistic are the events happening to him, that far from sympathising with him, you cannot even relate to him. Horrible charchterizaion coupled with horrible plot. Einstien trying to solve the storage space crisis to store one lakh ball bearings, without anyone getting wind of it! In conclusion, does the author want to highlight that Einstein has come a long from his days of naivety to being a jugaadu consultant or does he insinuate that the system is so inherently flawed that Robin Varghese can get away with such a big goof-up?
The Hindu gives the author some credit in narrating some humorous events including alcohol, a huge plastic duck and some puking. His Diary entries – wherein he bares his heart and soul- are also amusing.
But overall, the book needs a reality check. Plus, the author has to stop publishing sequels to this!
Bottomline: Can be easily skipped.
Name: The Incredible Adventures of Robin ‘Einstein’ Varghese
Author: Sidin Vadukut (Published in 2010)
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Recognition: The Dork Trilogy #1