Review of PG Bhaskar’s ‘Corporate Carnival: Jack is Back’
“Use Grammarly‘s grammar check because being a non-conformist is not the solution to everything.”
Bhaskar’s latest offering ‘Corporate Carnival: Jack is Back’ is a breezy and light-hearted read that offers the readers a peek into the roller-coaster world of the banking industry. The book follows Jack, the protagonist, in his quest for a safe and happy future. Fate, however, had other plans as the long grubby hands of the economic recession caught on to him and he was forced to leave his job. The story ricochets into turbulent waters as Jack and his friend, Kitch, take up jobs with another multinational bank, hoping that this was the break that they were looking for. Soon after, the story takes on a frenetic frenzy as Jack, Kitch and the other colleagues in their department start fishing around for prospective clients. As readers, we experience the antics of Jack’s customers and his experiences with them which range from a nerve-wracking and hilarious instant quiz on football to getting dangerously sandwiched between the two wives of a client. As if this was not enough, more hilarious situations are generously interspersed in between the winding lanes of the main storyline. This involves the mad dash to Kitch’s house in Chennai which results in a harrowing experience for Harry, a colleague, to Jack ‘heroically’ saving Gali, Kitch’s wife, from the clutches of a fictional ghost.
Although the book is laden with mishaps and hilarious and embarrassing encounters of every kind, the reader is also exposed to the underbelly of the banking world where games are played and moves are made by minions and chairpersons alike. Thanks to the sheer determination and efficiency of his colleagues, Jack’s department in the bank starts to gather more clout and, as a result, ends up drawing a lot of negative attention. Eventually, there is a reshuffling at the top of the ladder which, in a sad turn of events, spells doom for Jack’s department and his colleagues. This, in effect, is a realistic reflection of the paradoxical machinations in most privatized corporations where direct reward for hard work goes hand in hand with direct reward for cunning political manouevres. The undercurrents of the grim reality are effectively shielded by the hilarity of most of the events that surround the protagonist. Eventually, fed up with the negativity of the newly restructured organization, Jack and his colleagues decide to start a small venture of their own.
The book, therefore, is a celebration of the triumph of hope over loss. In the first instance, Jack loses his job due to the recession. However, he comes back into the game with a blast as he is asked to rejoin the industry with a swanky new corporation. Soon after, the true nature of the corporation comes to the fore and Jack is left reassessing his future once again. The book ends on a positive note where Jack and his colleagues start a new chapter by taking control of their own lives by moulding from scratch a future for themselves. The book, therefore, is an eclectic collection of a wide variety of humour concerning different geographies, people and incidents and the daily realistic struggles in the swanky corridors of the corporate universe. The humour serves to garnish and temper down the negative machinations into a digestible and entertaining read while the realistic windows into Jack’s tumultuous job life serves to keep the reader grounded and not exalt in the heavenly mirage overflowing with generous doses of humour. All in all, although the narrative is a light-hearted breezy one and the book, in itself, is a quick read, the author has done a modest job in bringing the complex machinations of corporate minds to the fore.