I’ve read all of the 212 pages and this includes the ‘dedication’ as well as the blank ones at the start… and I finished reading the novel (Oops! The notes) in less than half-a-day and also went about completing the normal chores for the day. What is important is that I wasn’t tired or over-stressed by any complex philosophic thoughts and went to bed with an ultra-fresh mind that night. A mind that was now primed to welcome complex as well as stimulating views and ideas which could then be thoughtfully munched and converted into yet another interesting blog post.
‘LOSER’ is a novel written by Dipen Ambalia. The word LOSER is an acronym and the expansion is: Life of a Software Engineer. The novel is published by Fingerprint and costs Rs 150/-. This happens to be Dipen’s second book… and I think I might go ahead and try to get my hands on it simply to see if Dipen is one of those authors who start going downhill after just one massive creative jolt.
Creative jolt – yes, this book is indeed a jolt for anyone who wishes to read it to get inspired to write better. The novel and I’m afraid to even call it a novel as it seems to me to be a rough compilation of notes in points and tables and a bit of doodling with thoughts and words. This book is probably the right illustration for one of the seven tips given to bloggers for pithy and readable blog posts. The point number four in that post is quoted here:
“4. Write within Points and Sub-headings
Do you know writing in Points and Sub-headings is working Great nowadays and you know why? Because it makes your post easy to understand and readable. In fact, Readers really like to read within points and Sub-headings as it helps to understand the post easily and even helps to readers to read the post within less time. Explaining your posts into several points makes it easy to understand and readers enjoy reading your content. Nowadays, you can see that an absolute majority of posts are written within points and Sub-headings as it makes the post more controversial as well as easy & understandable.”
So I’m not off the mark if I call Dipen’s novel just a lot of pages of notes… the sort of notes that professionals spend time on when there is nothing better to do or students strategize on how to get the attention of the most beautiful girl in the class. Motivational speakers use points to make things clear, housewives do it while discussing the merits of their maids, managers resort to it during a sales meeting, and obviously, if we are to believe Dipen, the BPO and the software industry is full of people who do just this. They, in fact, go a step further and convert thoughts into neat tables… but listen, all this is just a lot of baloney, and we all know it. Dipen has certainly done a good job of giving us hilariously concocted tables of pure hogwash – and it does need a lot of talent, let me tell you. If you’re the sort who wants to learn how to employ tripe and climb the ladder in your organisation, go ahead and read his novel… oops! Notes.
The pages do include interesting stuff too but if you’re not careful you’ll be lost retrieving yourself from all the instruction tables and direction points… like the beautifully concocted story of Columbus being likened to a software engineer. It is actually mesmerizing… and then ‘suddenly a crow poops on you. And you’re jolted back to reality.’ The reality of Dipen’s notes in your hands, of course. The author himself writes:
‘Writing a book is a very difficult task. One has to do a lot of research, exercise his/her imagination and travel to various places to meet different people to get to the bottom of the story.’
Yes, Dipen has indeed done all that and then decided to print his notes and pass it on to us as a novel. Well, the author did reach the ‘bottom of the story’ but was unwilling to climb up and reach any sort of creative climax!
The author’s website is probably more creative than the novel he has written… and the toons below point to a man who desperately needs to recognise where his real talent is… writing a novel isn’t quite like writing a feasibility report that a PR agency or an Ad agency would create and send to prospective clients. The author probably forgot that a reader is rather different form a customer – but then the social networks today are so full of authors who treat readers, friends, and even strangers as just customers who need to be force-fed sales messages. I see this happening all the time and find it utterly disgusting. Authors must understand that readers are people who are genuinely interested in a creative output and not a document that reads like a third rate thesis from a shady university from Western UP!
This isn’t a novel… it is just notes. But I’d still recommend it. Why?
Those of you who want to understand the hard work, research, note-taking, jottings, doodles, and tables that authors resort to before they sit down to start writing seriously, will find this work by Dipen a rather vital tool. Read ‘Loser’ and you’ll surely be on your way turning yourself into churning out a winner novel soon enough. You’ll understand all the nooks and corners that need to be cared for while preparing your own ‘neat induction manual’ that can, at the right and opportune moment, be converted into a creative treat!
This writing style does suit company newsletters, internal communication memos in organisations, mailers, blogs, visual-aids used by salesmen, and even sales proposals… so all of you who want to know how to inject humour into such documentation, must read this work.
The lazy ones out there who have never gone beyond page one of even a James Hadley Chase must make a humble start with this one… Dipen will gently roll with you in the pre-historic world that comes much before actual novels are penned and you’ll probably evolve into a reasonably good reader. If you see improvement, try reading his first novel too… though I can recommend that only empirically.
Finally, I’d agree with the one-word analysis of another reviewer quoted on the cover. Sandeep Dhar writes: “Hilarious!” Yes, indeed…
Title: LOSER – Life of a Software Engineer
Writer: Dipen Ambalia
28 March 2012