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(Posted on 9 July 2005)
Title Local
Author Jaideep Varma
Publisher Indialog Publications Pvt Ltd.

Book Review by Sonali Krishna

The paradox of one's dual existence; straddling between two contrasting world is what Jaideep Varma's `Local' throws light upon. Varma, an advertising professional has attempted to give an perspective on the journey of 28-year-old Akash, a copywriter who straddles between two contrasting worlds; a multinational ad agency and his nighttime home, i.e the local train.

The book is a narrative journey and has been approached in a very radical manner to bring out the dichotomy of an individual's professional and personal space.

Akash, (the protagonist) an advertising professional, working for a top notch agency, of this Mumbai-centric novel, decides to live his life in a state of complete homelessness renouncing himself to the Mumbai locals. So, while during the day he performs the role of an ambitious young advertising professional, who is dealing with the late entry into the profession; the nights transport him to an arena which make him realize the unmasked face of people of Mumbai, all vying for the basic essentials of life.

What has been interestingly brought out is the fact that the protagonist during the day concentrated on accentuating wants for people, aiding them to desire things they often do not need. On the other hand, the latter part of his day is spent sub-consciously transcending his own desires of life; tangible or the intangible.

Varma has also brought out the different stand-alone vignettes of the advertising world. Be it the agency culture, the pitch process, the readying of a campaign, the trials with clients, budgets, creative characters or the inside politics. So, overall the book offers a sneak peek at the world of advertising, which one knows very little about.

Some of the things that the book falls short of is that its rather slow paced, and not very tightly edited. Secondly, although Varma writes passionately about the aspirations of people in the advertising fraternity, the real meat of the book really emerges at the fag end of the book. Also, the connections that Varma was trying to sew between the two worlds at some parts do not seem to make a smooth transition.

But overall, the `Local' is definitely a novel concept of dealing with a number of issues. It definitely is a an interesting and entertaining read for the advertising fraternity.


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