Category Archives: metro reads

With or Without You by Partha Sarathi Basu

I have always enjoyed the Penguin “Metro Reads” series. They are fast paced, racy and short. They get over even before you have started reading them and at some level they do not intellectualize which I love in books at times. It started with “Dreams in Prussian Blue” to “Love Over Coffee” and now “With Or Without you” by Partha Sarathi Basu. Penguin’s Metro Reads have been great till now for me and here goes another review…

The corporate world is brutal and we are all aware of it. From eons and centuries things have not been easy when it boils down to a corporate setting. Every corporate executive is ruled by goals – personal, professional and organizational. The vicious tactics often used to achieve them lie hidden behind a facade of bonhomie and gentility.

“With or Without You” by Partha Sarathi Basu rips apart the veils to reveal the murky underbelly of corporate life. You move through raw ambition, convenient suspension of integrity, deceit, smear campaigns as executives relentlessly march towards their constantly changing goals. Woven into the fabric of a fast paced story, the well crafted characters are instantly identifiable with people from real life.

What is the story about though?

It is about blinding politics in an office environment and how things, situations and words have the capacity to go awry and change people. It is about how people are compromising their values because of that single promotion that superficially means so much and yet is so elusive till you let go of something cherished and loved.

Aarav the protagonist of the book will not stop at anything. He will do anything to get to the top (supposedly tagged in every organization I have ever worked with). He will betray his friends who are also his colleagues. He will turn the one without scruples. He will cheat on his wife with the foxy Sonali, who is only but using him. Aarav does things that will make you cringe – for instance leaving his wife alone in the middle of a romantic trip to London, without any regrets – and all for what? To get to the top.

There are elements in the book that keep you glued to the book – for instance what is Sonali up to? What does she want from Aarav? And that is not known till the end of the book. The other characters like Raika and Rishav not only add to the story but also further propel it. What I personally loved about the book was that I could so relate to it at every level – the politics at work to the emotions one goes through to the games that you don’t want to play and yet at some level we all do.

For those with years in industry, the story-line is like déjà vu. For the newcomers, it is an eye-opener to the real world  – one that is never taught in B Schools.

You can also visit the author’s website on:

With or Without You; Basu, Partha Sarathi; Penguin India; Metro Reads; Rs. 150; Available from Flipkart