Entertaining Corporate Bitchery

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By the Water Cooler By Parul Sharma, book reviewEveryone’s heard of the boss from hell – and the most notable one in fiction was The Devil Wears Prada’s version of Anna Wintour. Now Indian fiction has come a long way with its chick lit avatars and quite obviously the story of the boss from hell in a fashionable environment was inevitable. After her book on bringing up her son Vasu, Parul Sharma has moved on to the world of glitz, glamour bitching and fashion models.

The story starts with Mini Shukla and her friend Tanya on their first day at JR Enterprises. Mini has quit her job at a high profile advertising agency for better prospects and is shocked to discover that the HR honcho, who announces the fact after giving them their welcome presentation, has resigned. His reason he says is because his boss, the CEO of the organization, apart from other things, has compared him to the glunk left behind in the coffee machine.

The girls are left in a state of uncertainty after this rude shock – they’ve been flung into the pool without lifejackets so to speak. Groping around they fall into the clutches of the office mole who reports everything they say to the evil CEO. Add to that the fact that Mini’s immediate boss takes her tone from the CEO and refuses to brief or give Mini any information relevant to her job. At one point Mini tells herself consolingly that ‘ corporate bitches are not born overnight’

Tanya exiled to an office by the kitchen entertains herself by planning her own wedding and summoning Mini down to taste cakes and approve flower arrangements. There’s a secretary who fancies herself as a sleuth and follows suspects in a very obvious burkha. And there is, of course, a bombshell of a model who Mini has to put in her place but who turns out to have a heart of gold as well as being a gold digger.

Everyone who has worked in the corporate world is aware of the problems that a boss’ politicking can cause. However, Sharma has to be allowed leeway for exaggeration. Especially where the main crisis of the book is concerned. That is something which could not have happened if the executive and the agency were actually as professional as they claimed to be. Mini’s single handed functioning takes things slightly too far.

However, despite these faults the book is funny and easily goes down in a day. And of course, as is only to be expected, everything ends happily ever after and one has to admire the author’s dexterity in sorting things out and extricating Mini and Tanya from their tight spots and their bosses’ machinations.

By the Water Cooler by Parul Sharma
Published by Tranquebar India

Buy book online
Buy book online
By the Water Cooler
by Parul Sharma

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Written by Anjana Basu
Anjana Basu

Anjana Basu works as an advertising consultant in Calcutta. In 2003, Harper Collins India brought out her novel Curses In Ivory. In 2004, she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland where she worked on her second novel, Black Tongue, published by Roli in 2007. In February 2010. her children's novel Chinku and the Wolfboy was brought out by Roli. She writes features for travel magazines and reviews for Indian newspapers.

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