Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Title of the book: 31
Author: Upendra Namburi
Genre: Corporate Thriller
Book Trailer: Click here
Available on: Flipkart and other stores

Gist of the book, as available on Blogadda:

What can happen in a month? Plenty, as Ravi Shastry, a middle-level executive in ‘Imperial Bank’ is to find out. Here he is, riding high in the last quarter of a tough yearfor a large multinational, with every prospect of a coveted promotion. Ravi runs a tight ship and delivers results, his team looks up to him, his wife loves him, and his hard-driving boss respects his choices and even hints that he is headed for bigger and better things.

March looks like it’s going to be the merriest month of the year….

But within a week, the bank’s Brazil operations are shut down, the US subsidiary is in a mess and soon the global reconstructing wave pounds the Indian ops- Ravi and his team. His wife is also under professional and personal pressure; a former girlfriend and now rival, a manipulative HR manager and others are turning hostile; even Internal Audit is after him.

31 gives you a ring side view of the 31 most combative days in Ravi’s dramatically altered life. It is not only ambition and ethics that are thwarting him, but an enemy whom he sees every day, but does not recognise.

In this corporate thriller, Upendra Namburi gets us to live and breathe the travails of his primary character. Because what happens to Ravi Shastry could happen to any of us.

My views:

India’s financial year ends on March 31, so March is a busy and crucial month for those running the rat race in the corporate world. It was no different for Ravi Shastry, the protagonist of the book ’31’, who is the regional head of an international bank – Imperial Bank.

The book captures cleverly how international business is linked, the ripple effect a meltdown in operations in one country (Brazil in this case) can have on the operations in another country, which geographically is so remotely located. And yes, the author Upendra Namburi has depicted office politics in a very interesting manner. Sometimes it is not what you do, but who you know that counts!

As they say, troubles come altogether and one can never know what tomorrow will bring. So while March 1, was a bright day in Ravi’s life, it soon fell apart both on the professional and personal front. The bank has to tighten its belt and that means cost cutting and retrenchment even in India. Another division – personal loans and credit cards is lagging behind, but as the head of this department is in the running for a top slot, his team cannot be laid off entirely and has absorbed in other departments. Ravi has to put his own team members on the black list to save the jobs of some of these guys. To add to his woes, someone is clearly causing trouble for Ravi, implicating him in a credit card fraud…. The internal auditors’ guns are trained on him. The to be CEO doesn't like him, his boss also aiming for the same top slot just isn’t there for him, he ends up having a one night stand with fellow colleague and competitor and his wife is fighting her own battles both on the work front and personal front. Top bosses arrive from overseas and add to the craziness, all guns are drawn and heads begin to roll. Of course, Ravi begins to job hunt, but that is another crazy story altogether.

Ravi is dreaming of a huge bonus one day and a trip to Disneyland with his wife and two kids. Almost the very next day, he is fighting on all fronts, to keep his job. He is also trying to salvage his marriage. The intense dizzying (and I mean this in a good way) pace continues page after page, each chapter denoting a particular day – right till the countdown! Interspersed within the pages are the famous tweets by an Insider, who knows much more about what will happen next, than the bosses care to tell.

I really liked the style in which the book was written, feelings of anxiety, depression, helplessness, guilt, portrayed by not just the lead but all characters in this book were well captured. Twitter messages by an Insider added to the excitement of the plot.

Does, Ravi win the rat-race? Does his marriage survive? To know the answer, you do need to read this book. It is an excellent, contemporary thriller of life in the corporate world and how things can suddenly change.

Biodata of the author:

A banking and finance professional by day, an engineer & MBA by background and from a peppy part of Mumbai, by accident, Upendra is married and has a son. He lives in Gurgaon, but remains a Mumbaikar at heart.

Upendra was first bitten by the writing bug when he was invited to write for one of India’s leading finance dailies Mint. It soon turned into a love affair that turned him into an avid blogger and finally made him take the plunge into the unchartered waters of the Novel. Upendra now takes complex and dry ideas like loans, foreclosures, investments etc. and turns them into nail-biting thrillers which make those dull and dreary numbers come alive. But, he really hasnt shifted his focus as such for he still thinks of his books as numbers: 31, 60, 8 and so on.31 is his first in the NUMBERS series.

Sign up for the Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. and get free books! Participate now!


Jeri said...

Books penned by writers who are actually immersed in the working world in their novel are some of my favorite. I'm also quite enamored by the cover....

Destination Infinity said...

Interesting storyline. The battles are actually fought on work places these days and books like this will help everyone understand what exactly is going on in 'corporate' jobs.

Destination Infinity

Lubna said...

@Jeri: I agree, my favs as well.
@Destination Infinity: Yes. The Twitter touch I thought was amazing.

Susan Cooper said...

You know I love thrillers. Well, I actually I love to read just about anything...LOL. The book cover is way cool and the storyline seems very interesting, especially given our current economic circumstances.

I very much enjoyed your review. You always do such a nice job with this. :-)

Lubna said...

Thank you, for your kind words, Susan.

Catarina said...

A thriller set in the corporate world. Sounds like a great plot to me that should be interesting. The fact that I would feel at home adds to the attraction.

Geek Girl said...

Hi Lubna - Geek Girl stopping by from BHB on LinkedIn. Not sure why I have not subscribed before.

Lubna said...

@Catarina: I could so identify with this book. 8-)
@GeekGirl: Thanks for subscribing. Look forward to seeing you again, soon.

Dilip said...

Interesting. A great way to understand what goes on in a typical corporate setting.

Bethany Lee said...

This one looks really excellent Lubna. I really like your reviews and I especially like the books by Indian authors that you review. I have finished the first book you reviewed long ago so I need another one, preferably an Indian author since you have totally given me an interest in the people and culture of this country. Now, should it be this one--which sounds like a fast read, or should it be one of the other ones you've reviewed that have truly sparked my interest? I believe I need to go back through some of your reviews to remember which one sparked my interest--and then pick one out from there. :-)
Thank you for sharing these reviews of books I would otherwise likely never hear about. It is a wonderful thing for both the authors and your readers. :-)

Jules said...

While politics and corporations are not my cup of is important to understand how they both work. While my Mountain of Books is toppling...I'm going to have to make some choices. I think for a while I shall have to read the ones I already have...

But I do enjoy reading your reviews. :)
Thanks for the attempt at Chatting. Grandson arrived...sleeping so I've had just a tad more time to 'surf'.
Be well my friend.

Relyn Lawson said...

I love the thoughtful, pensive way you approach your reading, your life, really.

Lubna said...

Thank you Bethany, Jules and Relyn. 8-)