23 December, 2014

#BookReview :: The Sales Room by R.T. Manu Ramesh

Rajesh Iyer, a young, ambitious salesperson, returns to ñThe Sales Roomî of Oregon Software Technologies after an aborted attempt at getting into a business school in the US, only to notice the metamorphosis of the software start-up which he had earlier been an integral part of. What used to be a rat-infested hole in the midst of a vegetable market is now a swanky, state of the art facility owned by an upcoming Bollywood star. The enthusiastic and compact team firing on all cylinders is replaced by a sclerotic and bureaucratic set up. Sales review meetings, once rife with passionate discussions, are now replete with profanities. The ill tempered angel investor's scream can be heard all the way from his villa in New York.Rajesh, now shunted into an innocuous role finds every effort made to alleviate the condition of the demoralized sales team, met with resistance. As revenues dwindle and tempers rise, Rajesh realizes he is running out of time and options. He either toes the CEO, Venky's line and becomes party to a sham or quits citing a host of plausible reasons. This hilarious narrative takes the reader from plush corporate boardrooms of Bangalore to the seedy hotels in Delhi as Oregon meanders in search of illusory customer wins. Rajesh meets several interesting characters ranging from the busty Polish graphics designer to the loquacious pimp masquerading as a taxi driver. 

Come and meet Rajesh Iyer. His aspirations were ha of achieving a MBA degree from US but when that doesn’t happen he gets a job with Oregon Software Technologies. His experience in the Sales department opens up the state of corporate affairs in India to the reader.  With a host of other colourful characters, Rajesh takes on the corporate world. Follow Rajesh as he struggles to make his career. Will he survive the rats’ race?

The blurb of the book indicates that the book is much more than just about a salesperson’s life and it is right. The book focuses a lot on the sales department of Oregon Software technologies and the organizational structure. It also gives us a glimpse into a sales person’s life and how such people struggle on a daily basis to save his job. But at the same the book also focuses on Rajesh’s personal experiences as an individual and his observations. There are a lot of characters included hat bring in a variety of flavours, including Rajesh’s boss and his belief in Vaastu. Then there’s Girish, Rajesh’s best friend whose rants are entertaining. The plot is simple, true to life and yet entertaining. The author’s sense of humour has added to the story well. I particularly enjoyed the way the situations were described and painted out for the readers. And the author has handled the closure very well.

I have to say that I hated some of the very sexist discussions included in the book. Being a girl, it was sometimes a bit insulting even though I am very aware that men do have conversations like that. Yes, the author has on reflected the reality of our society and while I see that fact, I didn’t really like some of the comments. We live in such a society that really needs to change its outlook towards women and situations described in books don’t really help as it just gives out a validation that men will always be like that. I just hope that the men who read this book will see it from a perspective of an outsider and realise that it is simply cheap talk.

Overall, this book did make for an entertaining read that had lots of moments that would make a reader smile.

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