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Friday, March 2, 2012

Scammed - Anonymous

The story of an accountant-turned CEO, whose successful career is abruptly halted when he finds himself in the middle of an elaborate financial scam.

Simple, Serious


No profanity

Favorite Quote:

Most of the new authors specialising in short stories have a unique writing style – Simple and to the point, focussing on the telling of the story, rather than how it is told. I guess the idea is to hold the fluctuating attention of the reader. “Scammed” falls in that category. It gives a bird’s eye-view of the characters and the plot, so much so that it makes one wonder how much better the book would have been had the author put more meat into it.

Hitesh Shah is a hard working consultant who, despite deserving, is not recommended for a promotion, while his better-at-networking-peer has quickly moved up the ladder. Most of us can see ourselves in Hitesh – the high-life seeking, hot-girlfriend wanting middle-class Indian, who is constantly nagged by his parents. When he does attract the interests of a struggling model, he is ecstatic. She however, “wants to feel pampered”, and Maruti Altos, cheap-flights and budget deals are definitely not enough. That, more than anything else, nudges Shah towards signing up an exciting offer put forward by the head of an auto company – to start and be the CEO of a car-rental company. Knowing well that the new company was created to save the parent company from trouble, he uses all his acumen to turn both the companies’ fortunes around. While he succeeds, the ex-employees of the auto company, angry at being “wronged” by Hitesh, plan and execute their revenge. Hitesh, now on the run, gets help from unexpected quarters, and as happy endings go, is finally able to redeem himself.

The sub-title of the book reads “Confessions of a Confused Accountant”. However, there is nothing confusing about Shah’s actions. Contrary to what it seems, the protagonist has the strength typical of an ethical middle-class man – to not give in to pressure, and to believe that hard work is more important than networking or dressing up (not an entirely correct thought though). Apart from the protagonist, however, it is difficult to get into the skin of the rest of the characters. The parents are portrayed as “forever nagging”, the female colleague as “manipulative”, and girlfriend as “running after the money, and using him”. Though these simple and monochromatic versions of the sidekicks helped move the story in a single track and at a sharp pace, it left a lot more to be desired.
The author has written the book on the presumption that the reader is a common man, and hence, has simplified and gone easy on the jargons. Coming from a non-financial background I found that to be a positive thing. I am not sure how the rest feel about that.

Between pace and meat, the author has chosen the former. The author’s intentions are clear - he had an interesting and a complicated plot which he wanted to put across to a common (wo)man. Thus, he succeeded in writing a fast-paced short-story by skimming over the surface of what can only be assumed to be deeper turmoil of emotions. Though ideal for a light read, I hesitate to recommend it.

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