Thursday, April 11, 2013

Behind the Silicon Mask By Eshwar Sundaresan

Title: Behind the Silicon Mask

Author: Eshwar Sundaresan
Publisher : Westland Books
Genre : Fiction
ISBN : 978-93-82618-39-3

The book cover and the title attracted my attention and I expected a roving thriller in store. But as I started reading, tens of characters and places and events were strewn all over the book with none making sense any or which way I tried to skim through the pages. I read and re-read and got lost with most of my enthusiasm dying down with each page. Until about page 175, I felt I was kicking in the muck until finally things started showing up. The events described and the places that initially read like a travelogue to me became a tale after that. Each character in the story then started showing their significance. 

Sometimes the narrative was very poetic like the rain that fell in the US could make ice creams while that kind of rain can slip through the fingers as it happens in India. The temperature dropping to single digit was another insane metaphor that spoke volumes of the writer's imagination. The vivid description of the coffee houses and libraries and the manner in which the Indian community thrives there kept me hooked during times I wanted to stop and give up on the story. So also, the variants of English like the one spoken by Singaporeans to those spoken by Trinidadians and Iraqis to the south Indian banter also added to the originality of the book. The environment inside the crammed office cubicles is another aspect of the story you might not want to miss. Although since I am not an IT person, all the terminologies used to describe the industry tried to cut the chord I was trying to strike with the story.

Of course, I believe it was very very important to get into that kind of detailing and without all that confusing conundrum of terms the story would have surely being incomplete. My bad that I do not belong to the IT industry and all that was a put off. Again that shows the depth of the research that author did, before deciding to pen the story or perhaps these might have been his real life experiences not put for the sake of filling the pages. 
It can perhaps make for a good Bollywood thriller, for the twists and turns would surely keep you on the edge. The serial killer and his illicit intent to wipe away the entire Asian community and specifically the Indian community to a software project that was merely being conned by minor errors while everyone thought of it as a deadly bug to a delimiting deadline and the famous Indian president of a software company who had all the moolah to become the next head of the state and dreamily showed us a picture of our potential that we so often undermine, were elements that kept the pace running.
The love stories running parallel to the office politics and professionalism also get a thumbs up. How incomplete the story would have been without these. One of the most beautiful aspects of the story was the portrayal of different kinds of women of different ages from a Lakshmi Deshpande who was a shrewd workaholic to a Geetika who was making exponential efforts to become the perfect trophy wife to an Arpita who was an opportunist.

What happens to the 200 plus IT professionals in the town of Milwaukee and will they get a saviour in Detective Farly and especially the protagonists Partho Sen and Varun Belthangady is for you to read and find out. I think the story should not have ended with the death of two people who had an army of dependents looking to them. An element of the story that I think broke my heart.

There were minor grammar glitches here and there and at some places certain characters were wrongly referred to like Mr. Ur Rahman was called Mr. Your Rahman on some pages and clearly I did not understand the purpose behind Vishnu Reddy's reference to as The Reddy in the later half of the story. Perhaps these errors can be fixed in a re-print.

My rating 3.5/5, half a point for the grammar bloopers and wrong references and one point for the time it took to hook to the story.

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Nidaa C. said...

Could you please give me your mail Id or no.?
I am planning to apply for Mphil Eng... But I dont have a lit. background. Im trying to do some studying on my own but keep hitting deadends. I'd be so grateful if you could help me a bit by telling me what to refer and stuffs.
Sorry for imposing... But I dont know anyone who can help or guide me... Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Your experience mirrors mine of the Krishna Key