Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Off-Site Tamasha by Abhay Nagarajan

The Off-Site Tamasha ... A Comical Tale Of Team Building is Abhay Nagarajan's second offering, after the quite well received Corporate Atyaachaar ... the comical journey of an office doormat. In fact, it's the sequel of the latter.

Corporate Atyaachaar (CA) provided some interesting insights into the corporate world, rather the world of personal finance. It was set during the stock market phase of 2007-08: The Boom (Part-I/Mar'07-Mid Jan'08) and The Bust (Part-II/Jan'08 and beyond). Umm, now if boom comes can bust be far behind?!

The protagonist assisted his boss - the inimitable HBS - in managing the investment requirements for a set of high net worth clients (HNI) - who are all characters in their own right - in Bangalore. Please note: it's HNI and not H1N1 *wink*

Now, 'HBS' - the Bangalore Boss of Wealth Capital Advisors Pvt. Ltd. (WCA) - a small non-banking boutique setup - is so named because of his habit of scratching his umm, family jewels - incessantly, irrespective of time, place and company.

While the protagonist is a rather willing office doormat with a strong 'metabolism' - a necessity in order to digest all the 'perks' - overt and covert, that comes his way - in order to save his paycheque.

CA - written in the first person - was the journey, rather the trials and tribulations of the protagonist at work - in the world of finance, while its sequel is all about his frustrations about not having received any 'action'.

He has spent some three years with WCA already, his paycheque and bank balance have traveled northward, solicitous calls coaxing him to get debit cards have upgraded to credit cards, his parents have re-discovered the spark in their relationship and are busy holidaying in exotic places all over the world and HBS is as insufferable as ever. Yet his already miserable life is made even more miserable 'coz all his efforts of getting some 'action' has gathered moss, rather fallen flat.

And to make matters worse even his mother was doing everything in her power to make him lose his coveted bachelor's degree, while all he wants, has been trying hard for, but still not managed to - is to get laid. Epic fail - as they say.

This book opens with the entire workforce of WCA heading for a relaxing three-day company off-site to Kyari - a resort some ten hours drive from Delhi.

Apart from HBS, his docile colleague and the Big Boss (the one who owns WCA), we are introduced to quite a few new characters. There is the pair of aunties from the Delhi branch, and the rich-but-desperate-to-get-laid brat, Virgin - as per the doormat protagonist.

Then there is the thin-voiced trainer with a weird penchant for clutching the Virgin guy’s hips, but he is otherwise quite diplomatic and knows how to please all, while also ensuring that the word relaxing gets a whole new meaning!

A pair of mysterious women too makes their appearance at the resort - and all the financial advisors try hard to impress them, except for the pair of aunties of course.

A quintessential Ramu-kaka type servant, a dog, some dog biscuits, a toy gun, handcuffs, a football, weird dreams, some village kids, a goat, a (hot) woman co-passenger, a pretty co-traveler, air hostesses, etc make up the rest of the cast.

There are lots of Gandhi-class jokes, and situations that are meant to be funny are loaded with flavours of the 'southern' variety.

The 'action'-oriented HBS' shenanigans, the desperate-for-some-'action' Virgin's antics, the 'action'-starved doormat and the trainer, unusual paintings - for the fig-leaf collection, the Best Financial Advisor Award, a Quiz, a role play, a jungle safari and 'tiger' spotting, etc make up the numerous sub-plots.

The book feels good to hold, and its jacket cover is quite attractive.

There are a few instances of humourous metaphors (e.g., the one on how a lungi clad guy jumps on a coconut tree in Kerala - was good). One also comes across some discreet and not so discreet potshots aimed at Chetan Bhagat among others. Frankly the CB chap keeps getting free public-city no matter what; he does not quite have to work hard for it ... unlike the namesake of our Bollywood shirtless thunder!

The typos could and should have been easily pruned out. Plus the deadwood, repetitions and stuffs that drag - too could and should have been done away with, and that would have made this one a lot thinner - than its 271 pages. It would have made it breezier too.

My Rating:
Umm, I'll give it a generous 3/5. Given the nature and content of the book, you will have to read it and then decide whether it suits your taste or satisfies the fiction-loving epicurean in you.

However, I think it's high time that some drastic changes or events happen in the life of the office doormat - in order to spice up the plot - to breathe some new life and excitement into it. Either a change of job or some other shake up - that makes things move northward again (no pun intended).

Details of the book: The Off-Site Tamasha ... A Comical Tale Of Team Building/ Author: Abhay Nagarajan/ Publishers: Srishti Publishers & Distributors/ Language: English/ ISBN: 9789380349534/ ISBN-13: 978-93-80349-53-4/ Bookbinding: Paperback/ Price: Rs.100. (Rs. 70 @
Flipkart)/ No. of pages: 271.

Pic. courtesy link.


  1. Did you buy the book or get a copy to review? I had received a mail from the author but no offer for a copy to review!
    p.s. long time no see? how are you?

  2. @ Reema: This is an author-requested one; he sent me a copy – for review. I had reviewed his maiden offering – 'Corporate Atyaachaar' too.