With or Without You by Partha Sarathi Basu
With or Without You is the second book in the Metro read series that I have read. And I think this series is creating a genre of its own. Based in big bad cities, it looks at the lives of people, who live here. Their struggles through their relationships, which could be personal or professional, and sometimes when the two converge. The narrative is simple, usually mono-dimensional. Language is everyday language and pace racy.
This story takes you through the journey of a professional. A typical story of an MBA who comes from a small town to make a mark in a metropolis. He begins as a simpleton with an ambition, believing in hard work. On the way, he gets used by his peers and seniors. And goes on a vengeance to get what he believes is rightfully his. He gets it and thinks he has got it on his own. Only to discover that everyone around was playing their part in taking him there. And the purpose was not to make him successful. But to achieve things for people sitting higher up in the hierarchy.
The crux of the story is that while you think you are doing something, there is someone somewhere making you do that for a larger gain that they want to extract out from your success for themselves. This part has been well captured in the plot. There is an attempt to introduce mystery through a series of envelopes that have to be opened at given times but in a very rudimentary way. There is an attempt to highlight the importance of family. Actually the wife in keeping you on track and standing by you even when you cheat on her.
The story seems to be have been derived more or less from the personal experience of the author. The events and the journey of the protagonist seem to be inspired from close quarters. And there is a very obvious intent to not let the obvious get out in the story. Though he mentions Gurgaon at one-off places, he has not really sketched the place through his narrative, for the audience who do not know Gurgaon. He does not even describe the office and the business of the organizations that his character is working for. The narrative just revolves around a bunch of people and their interwoven plans. Real life is far more complex and complicated. There are many more dynamics that an individual has to deal with.
If you are a senior executive in the corporate world, you will relate to many things in the story. If you are not that senior as yet, you will probably understand the psychology and circumstances of those above you. But if you are not from that world, you will probably sympathize with the wife.
With or Without You, is a fast-paced light read that does not demand too much of your time and mental space.