The Incredible Banker – Ravi Subramanian
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A seemingly business book, touching upon the intricacies of the financial and banking sector is what I hoped to read when I picked up Ravi Subramanian’s The Incredible Banker. But it turned out to be a piece of news! A thrilling fiction set against the backdrop of foreign banking in India, the story was like a storm that just wouldn’t let me off its grip.
Yes, the book lets you in on the nitty-gritty’s of the corporate world; the deep-rooted politics, favors and ambitions, friendships with benefits and the like, all happening under the roof of Greater Boston Global Bank (GB2), in the old business district of Mumbai where they commonly say, ‘You throw a stone and you are likely to hit a banker’. But one doesn’t expect a weave of a huge Naxal operation to reveal itself bit by bit in the story. As Andy says in the book, ‘It will be one of the most successful wins of your career. Mark my words! It can’t get better than this. Foreign banks, government, Naxalites, money laundering and threats.’ It is true for Subramanian too, who seems to have hit the bulls-eye with his book.
Robert McCain, the CEO of GB2, is summoned by the RBI Governor one Friday morning. He rushes to meet him expecting the worst. Alongside runs the story of the company two years back from now. The rivalry between two senior executives, which leads to the resignation of one of them, followed by a blind rush to meet the monthly targets makes the company overlook certain key processes. Everyone is hell bent on proving their worth by attaining the numbers, and eventually pleasing their bosses. In the process, the company suffers drastically and it’s only on that particular morning, two years later, that all hell breaks loose on GB2. Deepak Sarup, a senior executive at the bank, is accused of assisting the Naxalite movement in Central India. Whether the bank too is involved in this giant money laundering scam carried out through fraudulent use of credit cards, is what we find out in the pages that follow.
It is brilliantly written and has a rare combination of themes in a book. The story appears strikingly real throughout. Not a detail is missed. Initially it seems to be the everyday story of every other foreign bank in India, pepped up with love affairs, office battles, plotting against bosses and nerve-breaking deadlines. But the book doesn’t leave you short of surprises.
Banker or not, it is an insightful book to read about the Indian corporate chaos, with some really fine story-telling at work.