So I received my copy of Bangalore Calling from the publishers and I as I sat down to read it, I almost saw my life flashing by. I have been working in the BPO Sector for about 9 years now and if there is one person who could relate to the book more than anyone else, it would have to be me and of course millions like me who work for this sector. Before I start with the review, I would like to say something about this industry. It grew and it grew at a speed that was unimaginable. From the very famous and pioneer GE Capital International Services (now GENPACT) to IBM making its foray to WNS to many such organizations who probably have been built by scratch in this industry. The BPO Sector in its own way and alone has generated so much revenue for the country, that it is astounding. I will not bore you with the figures, however certain (mis)conceptions that people have of the so-called “Call Centres” need to change. Our work is not mind-numbing. It can get monotonous just like any other job. I remember when I used to introduce my profession in a room full of lawyers and meds and corporate men and women, I would get the look that questionned: Why? But well that is one part of the industry. The other part is displayed beautifully by the author in her book.
Bangalore Calling is but of course about the BPO Callus (fictional? – I would not say so as it is modelled after so many BPOs I know and am aware of) based in Bangalore and how its employees live their lives day in and day out. There are fifteen interlinked stories in the book, that make you sit up and take notice. The stories are about the call centre employees – from an agent to the manager to the cab driver – their hopes, dreams, zig-zagging through the hustle and bustle, the work demands and the need to make sense of everything at the same time. From the fake acccents adopted by the employees (Training anyone?) to the aspiration of a toilet cleaner working for the same organization. Different stratas of the society and the ability of the BPO Sector to give many such people the right to dream and want to make something of their lives.
The stories of Bangalore Calling are vivid and starkingly real. They bite you when you least expect them to and that is probably the defining feature of this collection. This is not a piece of America – the BPO/Call Centre that is. It is a slice of life as depicted in the book, rightly so. The book goes deeper than what is seen on the Outsourcing surfacing and may be that is the reason why I enjoyed reading the book besides the fact that I could relate to every story.
Bangalore Calling is a book that must be read by all with perceptions about the call centres in our country and how they function. The author’s prose is crisp and to the point. She sure does not run in circles. Her plot is tight and thankfully it does not get dramatic at any point. The book is well-written for sure. It will sure help clear minds and introduce new perspectives. A great read for one.
You can purchase the book here
Here’s the book trailer and by the way there is also a review contest by the publishers where you can win Book Hampers…Please log onto: www.bangalorecalling.in
Bangalore Calling; Narayan, Brinda S; Hachette India; Rs. 295