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The Suicide Banker [Book Review]
Normally we don’t review novels. However, this one caught our attention for several reasons. To start with, at the back cover, there is a warning!
“This novel could inspire more fraudsters than financiers! A compulsory reading for unscrupulous borrowers who don’t want to repay their bank loans!”
We thought we must read this. After all, such tips may come handy in future. Then we learnt that the story is based on some massive frauds that happened in one of the largest banks in India. Interesting!
Finally the title – The Suicide Bomber Banker. There is something about the title!
After reading this novel, I did get many tips – Next time I take a bank loan, I will try to apply themJ. But beware, as per author (page 276), ‘If you owe the bank $100, it’s your problem. If you owe the bank, $100 million, it’s bank’s problem.’ If at all you are planning to swindle your bank, make it big!
After reading, I felt scared too. We trust our banks with our hard earned savings. What will happen if the bank goes bankrupt!
The Author: This is a debut fiction by Puneet Gupta. An MBA (Gold Medallist), LLB and CAIIB, about himself, he wrote on his website,
“Well, I am a person just like you!
Simple person, simple life and modest dreams – wanting to be the bestselling Indian author is one of them.
Earlier, in my youth, I dreamt of working in TV serials, sent my portrait and it didn’t fly. Then I dreamt of joining Indian Army, appeared twice for the interview, it didn’t work… ….
Then someone suggested, ‘Hey, you are good for nothing. Why don’t you try MBA. People like you can do wonder there.’ I took his advice – did wonders and got a Gold Medal.”
The protagonist, Sumit Sharma, is a young banker with a “traditional” mindset. After working for several years in public sector, he gets a plum job with a leading private sector bank. In addition to his bank balance, the plum job also increases his stress.
He is not able to digest the 20-20 approach followed by his bank where everybody wants a quick result. He gets a little uncomfortable when his Executive Director, riding a wave of phenomenal success, amidst deafening applause, proclaims (page 77), “There is a saying that you cannot produce a baby in one month by impregnating nine women… I think it doesn’t apply to us..”
With every passing day, his discomfort increases, affecting his personal life. His relationship with his wife undergoes a substantial change (page 202).“A loving husband first became an indifferent person and then a hostile inmate. The gap between them was growing – something that they felt but didn’t discuss.”
Their only kid had to bear the brunt of their tussle. At this stage, a young assistant walks in leading to a prolific extra-marital affair which reaches its zenith on an expensive yacht ride, at the end of which Sumit comments, “Love is an ocean of emotions….. surrounded by expenses.”
The sub-titles are catchy. The language is crisp. At one place Sumit and his wife Shalini are fighting, and she shouts at him: ‘You are a loser! A loser who doesn’t know that he is a loser! A loser who thinks he is the General Manager of the universe! You screwed up everything – your professional life and our family life. And you still believe that you are doing a great job – a service to the mankind.’
While at job, Sumit picks up holes that annoyed most of his colleagues who are intoxicated by ambitions and success. As per him, ‘The people who I criticized happened to be the judge, jury and executioner of my fate in the bank.’ Finally Sumit, working like Sherlock Homes blows up the lid from the largest banking frauds ever.
It’s a reality (and realistic) fiction and an extraordinary portrayal of everyday life and its stresses.
Overall, the book is a good entertainer and it’s a learning experience too (how to swindle your bank J). Read the book and find out more Cupiders.
Final Words: A Suicide Bomber (or A Suicide Banker) is also a normal human being. Faced with extreme prejudice, he is pushed beyond his tolerance limits. That when he is forced to wear a suicide jacket.