It is, in fact, a good trend that the creative writing bug has bitten many a corporate personnel in recent times. It is all the more enjoyable to read novels based on their personal and professional experience in that chosen area hitherto not explored by writers fully.
Ravi Subramanian's debut novel 'If God was a Banker' is certainly an engaging tale of the trails and tribulations of the management gurus and banking pundits. The spotlight has been rightly beamed on the entry of the foreign banks in India and how the large Indian population was lured into the present regime of pelf and materialism. Undoubtedly, the entry of such culture of bank loans for vehicles, houses and home appliances and the introduction of plastic money, the living standards of an average middle class Indian have definitely undergone a metamorphosis. The several brains that worked behind this process have been effectively communicated to the reader by Subramanian.
Well, anything good has a downside also. The murky and devious sides of such deals and the dedicated approach of two of the fresh graduates from management school lay thread bare the life behind the ornate fa'ade of highly paid, flamboyant, extravagant and glamorous profession.
Sundeep Srivastava and Swaminathan are juxtaposed to project the two sides of a different and difficult profession; retail banking. While Sundeep is aggressive and ambitious, Swami is evenhanded and sensible. Their careers with the New York International Bank zoom meteorically but on different planes. Sundeep is ready for any compromise to promote, project and achieve his goals and Swami prefers to go slow and steady adhering to ethics of the profession without being overzealous.
What all could come with power, position and wealth? Deceit, women, ambition, frustration, pressure, success and failures interfere in the lives of these two youngsters. Notwithstanding these, they surge forward to success and how they manage it is narrated by Ravi Subramanian lucidly. The novel unfolds as a flashback of Sundeep Srivastava before a crucial trial. The innumerable characters apart from Kalpana, Natasha and Aditya walk through the novel but each one makes an impact on the readers which is the strength of Subramanian's narration. (In fact, he is also one of the characters in the novel towards the end!). The novel travels from Chennai to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata to New York and London. Finally Sundeep is grilled for all his imperious nature and misdeeds but walk without punishment. Aditya Rao, an elderly character who plays Godfather to these two protagonists extends his helping hand to Srivastava for his intrinsic talent and intelligence.
Ravi Subramanian's language and recitation are smooth and simple; probably for puritans the brief but brazen descriptions of the sexual escapades of Sundeep may sound a bit obscene. Nevertheless, Ravi Subramanian deserves hearty congratulations for making the reader walk successfully though the world of money, power and ahem, deception.
If God was a Banker; by Ravi Subramanian , Rupa & Co. (pp260); R.195