Title : By The Water Cooler
Author : Parul Sharma
Publisher : Westland
ISBN : 978-93-80658-37-7
Mini and Tanya are good friends who - studied together, left their previous jobs in an ad agency and are about to commence a new phase of their career in a fashion house - JR Enterprises. They begin their first day in the new place with stars in their eyes and hopes to have a promising career. But within the first day, the reality comes crashing down to them and their dream turns into nothing less than a far fetched one. The HR manager who hired them gets fired on their induction day and CEO is a conceited, egoistic person who hunts for the opportunities to make his employees know how dimwitted they are and how they are nothing but big recruitment errors. To top it all Mini's boss Shipra takes keen pleasure in trying every possible way to wreck Mini's career.
Mini is more ambitious but grounded of the two while Tanya is a little queer and is more focused on her upcoming marriage with her boyfriend Prithvi. Mini is made the incharge of a critical project which is literally pushing a non swimmer into the deepwater without any protection, to survive or drown. Tanya on the other hand is literally removed to the basement next to the kitchen of the office and is deliberately kept away from any kind of work whatsoever. But both of them take these extreme shockers in their stride, Mini with grit and determination learns the hard fact 'corporate bitches are made, not born' and implements it to her benefit while Tanya uses her 'no-work' time to plan a perfect and a well organized wedding for herself.
The readers are on to a roller coaster ride with Mini and Tanya and their funny incidents.
The other characters like the office secretary who is a detective in her own rights, an oily personal assistance, a lovable old photographer, the attitude-throwing model - create a colourful ensemble and make the whole story an entertaining reading experience.
Parul Sharma has offered everything from office gossip to office politics, from friendship to back stabbing, office romance to treachery, management basics to self defined principles - typical 'all masala' corporate culture and how the water cooler aides in propagating the rumors and gossips. What I liked about Parul Sharma's writing is that she takes time to define and describe each character which feels like a slow progress initially but then the same characters are so beautifully etched in the minds of the readers that the scenes from the text can easily be visualized as if happening in front of the eyes. The narrative gradually builds and towards the end it reaches the peak which is the perfect time to peak, in my humble opinion.
As the right balanced proportion of all ingredients - is the key to having a delicious meal, so is the perfect mix of wit, humour, sarcasm and satire to have an enthralling and amusing page turner and 'By the Water Cooler' successfully manages to offer this lovely potpourri.