If God Went To B School.
Anand and Mani Ganesh.
Srishti. Delhi. 2010.
Jayanto Bose must be congratulated for bringing before us a range of books from Srishti authored by young debutants. These debutants, usually young men from top schools and B schools bring forth a kind of psyche that we all guess but are not sure of. At the bottom of the psyche of such brilliant young men lie two things – rejection in love and inability to achieve. In other words, these are stories of not so successful persons in institutions that qualify to be among the very best in the country. For the reader, such autobiographical accounts bring about two kinds of feelings, one of deep sympathy for the young men and the other a kind of vicarious voyeurism because most of us will never be able to see the haloed portals of either the IITs, or IIMs or even the XLRIs or the FMS. Anand and Mani Ganesh’s debut novel, If God Went To B School is one of such publications by Sirshti.
Despite the deeply self deprecation that sets the tone of the story, or an eclectic collection of stories, one cannot but observe that these young men are the creamiest layer of the batch for having made it to the B school in the first place. However, inside the B school they are subject to cramming and copy paste and senselessly overworked. As lessons and assignments are recklessly jammed into these young heads the difference between the ones who get plum placements and the ones that do not get them is the singular factor that while the successful students could overcome their anxieties over women, the ones who were left out of company placements were the ones who could not get over fears of rejection by women. In that case, overcoming one’s fear of female rejection is the key to succeeding in the B schools. The negative construction of women is so strong that the male contenders assume that companies are keener for women as sex objects even when the authors have explicitly mentioned that the girls were selected because they topped the batch!!
Srishti is for new authors or the bottom of the pyramid ones as Anand and Mani Ganesh call themselves and one cannot expect a steady handed prose from them. I admit that the authors have a very long journey in front of them before they can emerge as “real authors” and it remains to be seen how quickly they close their gaps with a Khalid Hosseini or even a nearer landmark, Chetan Bhagat. But the prose is brilliant when it comes to descriptions of cities Delhi and Kolkata, the former being fiercer but is more pliable because it means a certain letting go of life’s baggage while the latter weighs heavy with emotions, attachments and memories. The characters are true to life, exhaustive in their coverage of types found in B schools and the atmosphere of agonizingly taxing but ultimately meaningless curricula are portrayed excellently. Finally, the dream sequences of frying fish in which the protagonist becomes a female, his negative category, the anarchy seen from the high building and the roadside vendor in an immaculate black suit selling junk bonds bear promise of commendable future works.