Business As Usual by Deepak Chawla
I did not know what I was getting into till I actually started reading this book. There was a book review request from the WCDE team. I quickly read the blurb of the book and replied back saying that I would indeed do a book review. Before getting into the details of what happened later, let us have a look at the blurb of the book.
“How far would you go, sacrificing your love and happiness, just to honour a commitment?
How far would you go, constantly lying to yourself, just so you can achieve dreams that aren’t even yours?
With BUSINESS AS USUAL, Deepak Chawla brings together stories about such individuals, whose convictions are bigger than their situations.
Set in the urban milieu of the modern corporate world, these stories are about people who are often at crossroads making choices between values, beliefs, obligations, and convictions. But who, like most of us, ultimately deal with life with supreme tenacity, strength and courage. Because in the end, it will be BUSINESS AS USUAL.”
Now, what do you expect when your hear the word short story? I expected the stories to be around 15-20 pages. I was shocked to see that this book had stories that spanned almost 60 pages. That was a shocker initially. Nevertheless, I started reading and was finding the going to be tough. For all reasons , all the Indian writing I read in the recent past begins with a bang , has a fast paced narrative and concludes in no time. Given this sort of back ground, reading a 300 page book with 5 stories seemed to be a herculean task to me. I practically kept the book aside for a few days and re-started it with an open mind.
As I persisted through the initial pages and completed the first story, I was back in groove to read the rest. The message at the end of story one was subtle but meaningful and touching. This made me read the second one. Again a long story, fine human emotions, strong men and women and a dilemma stricken protagonist welcomed me as I joined them in the ride of their life. The ride was slow but smooth and it too ensured that I carried home one of the best messages I ever learnt. The next story is supposed to be read “In good Faith”. This is my personal favorite and I liked this one above all other stories in the book. Then we see the lives of HR’s in the fourth story. These guys have some thing in common and yet are different from each other . They make us learn some thing totally different before we meet Kunal, Meera and Divya. These three people come together in the last story to tell us something that will make us question ourselves in a few areas.
From struggling to complete the first story to be left with a feeling that there should have been more stories by the time I reached the last page of the book was indeed an interesting transition for me. The credit goes to the author for creating such plots that kept me going.
What did I like in the book?
Good stories, a very different genre altogether and this makes the book unique. The author took great care while creating the characters. You would see very strong men and women, who have clear ideas, ideals, values and convictions battling it in their lives. In almost every story you see a man as the protagonist and a very strong woman who is his driving force. The characters in the stories resemble the people whom meet on a daily basis and that adds value to the book.
The fact that I was enjoying the long stories by the time I reached the end of the book stands as a testimony of the liking I developed for the book.
What I did not like ?
I think the length of the stories might drive the readers away. They are long and one needs patience to get into the groove. The message is great and that would make the person feel like reading the story again. However, the length of the story might make the reader feel like putting the book away. Then the transitions between the flashback and the current day could have been handled in a better way. Sometimes I was getting confused and had to read and re-read just to make sure that I was understanding it all.
To Conclude, good stories that convey great learnings about life. Had the author been a little more economical with the length of the stories, the book would have transitioned from being a good read to a great read. It indeed is a good read. Do pick it up when you have some time. Happy Reading.