Saturday, August 25, 2012

P.G. Bhaskar - Jack Patel's Dubai Dreams


This was my reaction when I shut the book after reading it.  Of course I was captivated by the book right from the start, but I have often read books that are great in the first few chapters and then wimp out after the fourth of fifth.  That was not the case here, this book held my attention from the start to finish.

Jaikishen Patel's Dubai dreams start when he sends in his CV to a prestigious investment banking firm Myers York.  He is called in for an interview and learns that he will be required in the company's Dubai office to tap their Indian market.

Jai's father had been forced to leave Uganda after Idi Amin deported Indians.  He tried to settle down in Gujarat, but was not able to.  He moved to Chennai and found success in Garments business.  Jai refused to join the family business and followed his passion for finance by getting a degree in Business Management from IIM Bangalore.

This led him to Dubai, working for Myers York.  At his company the amount of business the Financial Advisors brought in was marked on a blackboard.  Jai, now renamed Jack Patel, wants to reach the top of the board! That is his Dubai dream.

We get to know, in a very entertaining manner, how Jack Patel brings in clients and how he deals with them.  His mentor, Mr. Kapoor, helps him nab a lot of clients.  He even goes over to Africa often to snag clients among rich Gujarati businessmen settled there who are looking to expanding their fortunes.

A whole array of lively characters pepper the book, from Jack's colleagues, Kitch (the vegetarian, straight laced Tamilian), his boss Peggy, Melissa, Rachel - who used to pole dance before she got into finance, Emma and Baby Jacob - the handyman who also made delicious ginger tea for them.  His client, Sunny Singh who had coined the phrase 'Singh is King' before Akshay took it for his movie.

He falls in love with Mina, the beautiful daughter of a client of his in Kenya.  At this stage in his life, everything seems to be going his way.  He has money and he has love.  Everything he touches turns to gold. Jack Patel's Dubai dream is realized finally,  he is the star achiever of his company, he is at the top of the blackboard finally!

All is fine until the crash of the banks in USA brings the financial world down with it.   So Jack Patel, who is at the top of his game, suddenly finds his fortunes plummeting fast.  His clients are losing money rapidly, and he is blamed roundly and abused. Mina's father also loses a good amount of money, and no longer wants Jack around his daughter.

How will Jack cope with the crisis?  Will he claw his way back out of this mess or will he go under?  This is what the book is about.

P G Bhaskar keeps the tone of the book light and funny.  At no time does the narrative lose its momentum.  There is always something going on, some tidbit of a funny happening that keeps you glued to the book.

This is another in the series of Metro Reads produced by Penguin books.  It is surely one of the best books in the category. 


samir said...

So this is the P G Bhaskar, real googly here :)
This is of course good & entertaining; the real reasons for the financial crash are much more boring & technical & mathematical :)

Ava Suri said...

True, Samir :)

He has made a good book about his reminiscences.

harveypam said...

good review Ava!
So it is all about learning, what is important in life! :-)
The companies use the young workers effeciently this way and leave them high and dry after a burn-out. The whole blame falls on them and the big-uns have amde the money till then and can laugh their way to the banks.

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