Thursday, 22 January 2015

Banking on God (If God Was a Banker - Book Review)

Book: If God Was a Banker
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Genre: Fiction (Thriller)
Published by: Rupa Publications
No. of pages: 260
Cover Price: Rs. 199


Sundeep and Swami are star students from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), one from Bangalore, the other from Ahmedabad. 
It is 1986. New York International Bank (NYB) is about to change how banking is done in India.
The two young geniuses join the bank and set on, what initially seems to be, a similar path.
At NYB, the two meet the third of the 'trio', Aditya. 

This is the second book by Ravi Subramanian that I have read. The first was God is a Gamer (2014).
If God Was a Banker was first published in 2007, Subramanian's first book.

I say 'trio', because the same three characters are there in God is a Gamer too. I am going about reading the books in reverse sequence. Well, it seems to be reading a flashback in a story.
God is a Gamer worked very well, without having read the previous works. But having read about the characters before, this book was more fun to read.

Back to If God Was a Banker. Sundeep and Swami start their careers together at NYB. Destiny (or shall I say 'God') had other things planned for them. Or one can justify it as their actions/ethics/convictions.

I have written before that I enjoy the fictions that revolve around facts. This book talks about India in late 80s onwards, and the ways of banking sector then and later.
Since my knowledge of such topics is minimal, it is a bonus when such books add to the knowledge packaged in an easy-to-read fiction with interesting characters.

In a couple of instances, relationships fell into a pattern rather too suddenly, a little too conveniently, that they stood out in the narrative. But the fact is the character it happened to was an unscrupulous, insensitive person and that could be explained as his ways.

In Ravi Subramanian's world of fiction, Good and Bad is usually as distinct as Black and White. Are they cliches or are they also true to the real corporate life, I wonder.


Ravi Subramanian's words from If God Was a Banker -
  • There are two basic things in life, which no South Indian will ever compromise on: The Hindu newspaper, and his morning cup of coffee.
  • He played the devil's advocate. He questioned every simple logic. He made sure that they thought through every option and every consequence of their actions.

I enjoyed reading If God Was a Banker. I have read God is a Gamer before, though. And the comparison was inevitable.
God is a Gamer is faster-paced in comparison. And its' story revolving around Bitcoins is more complex than If God Was a BankerGod is addressed to, referred to and thought of more openly in If God Was a Banker.

Ravi Subramanian's books are about the intricate balance between self-will and belief.
If God were a Banker, though, I wonder what world would be like. Ravi Subramanian's world is forgiving to most. If God were a banker, the banks would certainly be very different.


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