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Sunday, February 21, 2010
Review : Dork The Incredible Adventures of Robin 'Einstein' Varghese
Way back in 2004, when Sidin Vadukut first wrote his Travails I was not a blog reader or writer. Still, this post did the rounds as an e-mail forward and was cause for many giggles, guffaws and sniggers across cubicles. In the tradition of self-effacing humour, it clearly pulled out all stops. A few years later when I started writing a blog of my own, I discovered the phenomenon called Domain Maximus, a blog that never fails to tickle the funny bone and often draws the complaint that it is not updated frequently enough. Readers are not willing to accept that Sidin Vadukut may be busy in his day job as the managing editor of Livemint.com, his nearly-obsessive but consistently funny Twitter updates or writing his next book.
The first of the Dork trilogy arrived at my doorstep via Flipkart. The first and eminently pleasant surprise was the price of the book. At INR 149 (Rs 50 off, don't you just love Flipkart?), it doesn't hurt to pick up the book, even if one is just mildly curious about it. I read it in two days and that can only happen if the book engages at a personal level, at least when one is in the lifestage that I am in (child/ren running riot in the background), it is. Most bloggers turned authors will tell you that it is reasonably difficult to maintain one's voice as one makes the transition from hitting publish to will you publish me. It is almost as if the moment one decides that the time has come to pen the masterpiece that has been sitting in the old noggin, the creative juices all decide to dry up in a single, impressive flash. Sidin evades that admirably, managing to retain his trademark humour as he reveals the diaries of one Robert 'Einstein' Verghese - the dork, the hero.
If you have had the opportunity to meet a low on social skills - high on naivete MBA student, Einstein (an ironical dorm name bestowed on him by seniors) will come across as familiar. Ranked 41st in his batch at a WIMWI, Einstein manages to delude himself that Goldman Sachs and McKinsey and Co. all want him on Day Zero of placement day and the much-coveted foreign posting with a fat bonus waits just around the corner. Instead he finds himself at Dufresne, a mediocre, mid-level consulting firm where he bumbles along in his own inimitable style. Perhaps the MBA jokes are too contextual and the consulting satire too specific but the book still manages to hold one's attention and more importantly create some laugh-aloud moments. It would be interesting to know the reactions of readers who do not have any experience with products of the Engineering Graduate - MBA from premier institute - Consulting/Banking/PE Job cycle.
Back to Einstein - the desire to find love and sex (possibly in reverse order of importance) is also raging strong and he regards all the female characters in the book with the same lustful eye, without getting too much action. Basis some well-timed confusion and deception, he manages to go steady with the girl of his campus dreams, only to hanker after someone else.
All in all, a very good first effort and it would be interesting to see what else Sidin has in store for the readers in the remaining parts. We can never have enough funny writers, I say.