Review – Blowfish by Siddharth Tripathi
Blowfish by Siddharth Tripathi is the second book that I read of the author. I quite liked his first book that was about boys in Varanasi. There were two things that struck me about that book – one was the fact that not much has been written about teenage boys. The second was the way Siddharth Tripathi brought out the city of Varanasi and the relationship people share with its ghats and Ganga. So, I was keen to read his new book – Blowfish.
After reading Blowfish, I can say that Siddharth Tripathi loves to take his readers to the men’s world. There are hardly any females in his stories and wherever they are – they are just small characters. His stories are more about the relationship that men share among themselves. In Blowfish, he takes you into an apartment shared by two men who in the corporate jargon would be called young professionals. These men are living the dream life if seen from a distance – nice jobs, posh-offices and the glittering city of Gurgaon. However, they are completely lost when you see them in their bachelor pad.
It is a story of camaraderie between two or three men who are leading a mundane life. Smoking and drinking is a solution to every problem they face. Anything that troubles them leads them to smoke more and drink more. Sadly, it is the reality of people missing a purpose in life. They dream of girls, chase them in their own ways but ultimately they find comfort in the company of their buddies. They are all dealing with their bitter-sweet relationship with their own families and that with the society. There is a hilarious take on the apartment complexes of big cities like Gurgaon that talks about the parent-child long distance relationship. How parents who take pride in the fact that their children are working abroad, hate the same thing when they are not around them.
There is a satire on the whole generation that wants to quit the job to pursue their dreams. Most of these people do not even know what the dream is. They just think of becoming what looks glamorous to them – being a writer, being a musician, being an artist. It is a case of the grass is greener on the other side. They step out only to realize that it is not easy to survive without the easy money that corporate life offers.
Having said that, the story of Blowfish also talks about the claustrophobic life of a corporate citizen. It talks about how most people pretend to work rather than work. How keeping your boss happy is the biggest task that most employees end up doing. The absolute boredom of doing nothing worthwhile while pretending to be busy all the time can be tiring.
It also talks about the busy life of Gurgaon, its traffic, its guitar classes and its policemen. Having lived in Gurgaon and having visited its police stations – I could completely relate to the frustration one goes through in this city that is growing physically at a hyper speed but is culturally yet to take its first steps. Although, compared to his first book, in Blowfish Gurgaon is not as strong a character as Varanasi was in his first book. The Gurgaon in this book could have been Whitefield of Bangalore or Gachibowli of Hyderabad.
Being someone who actually let go of a corporate career for pursuing my passion, I would say first find out what you are passionate about and then take the plunge. This euphoria of watching creative people in 15 minutes timeframe when they are on stage somehow camouflages the intense hard work they put in behind the scenes. The result of most creative pursuits seems so simple that they look effortless to the viewer.
The language of the book is very contemporary, very Gurgaon if I can say. At places, I felt the narrative is getting repetitive, but mostly the places the story is fast-paced.
I think this is a book that many men in the corporate world will well connect with. If you have lived in shared apartments, you would go down the memory lane while reading this book.
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