September 25, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: 'Along the Way' by TGC Prasad

TGC Prasad's Along the Way is a roller-coaster ride of an ordinary engineer's life, written in a humorous manner, almost making it seem like the author is speaking to the reader rather than making him swallow aimless words. 

Venkata Subramaniam Adisankara Tanikaburla aka VSAT is your typical neighbourhood guy with some sweet imperfections. He is friends with Raj and Adi since their engineering college (NIT Calicut) days where they have struggled and survived together in the bottom pile. Raj Malhotra is a rich Punjabi lad with a fascination for some seriously good female assets and Aditya, who like VSAT is from Andhra . VSAT's boring life changes when he meets Anjali, daughter of a Colonel from Coorg, in his college and manages to impress her. Finally the two fall in love with an uncertain future keeping in mind the cultural differences and the hot-headed colonel.

An eventually all of them graduate and get placed in the same software company, TCS which is supposed to look after them and care for them and offer them 'life-long employment' as per VSAT's traditional father. It is here that the author really spins the tale by taking us into the lives of software engineers, their little joys, the work pressure, their expectations and dreams in an uncertain world. The jargon sometimes is heavy in some chapters but then one can't talk of engineers without the technical details. The tiff with the HR department and their bosses is interesting and it is good to see the mess they put themselves in after naming their boss, Mani as Hitler and rechristening their HR head, Amit as Pappu on his face. Their boss of course is of the 'boss is always right' types and does not go easy on them in the beginning. VSAT's US-obsessed parents finally get to see their son's development when he is sent to the US on a work-visa, and that chapter actually shows how software companies start changing their behaviour towards employees overtime, not wanting to lose them to competition.

Many incidents are quite hilarious, especially when Raj ends up calling 911 while meaning to call his home when they are in America for work. And somewhere around that the cultural clash between the east and the west also is portrayed in a witty manner by the author. VSAT's journey of impressing his trivia loving father-in-law by buttering him with wine bottles and trivia sessions even when he has no love for trivia, and winning over his mother-in-law by making Shah Rukh Khan wish him on her birthday, is surely interesting. Yeah, SRK too makes a telephonic appearance in this book. So do many little things in life that we experience and makes me hold true to my word, that the story has something for everyone. Towards the end the book catches pace and shows that the characters are not a part of the rat race but they are willing to prove themselves as capable as any IITian or any other performer in the organisation and in life. The writing is crisp and smooth and laced with adequate humour. 

The book is laced with quotes from Mario Puzo's 'The Godfather' and VSAT recollects them whenever he happens to find himself in a similar situation. The trivia questions that keep flowing out of the blue sometimes can be a turn-off for some. Apart from that, the book is wonderfully written and can be a ready-made script for Bollywood. Laced with wit and humour, the story will definitely find many takers. This book is one of the better releases this year and is sure to be taken notice of by the literary crowd. I will again repeat that it has something in it for everyone- the complete family entertainer kinds!

Get it from StackurRack or Infibeam

Note: TGC Prasad is the author of the best-selling motivational management book titled 'Unusual People do things differently.'



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