Book Review: The Sales Room
The Sales Room is as attached to its title as inseparably as a bee is to honey. The plot revolves around sales, sales and nothing but salesmen. These are a specific kind of people who, as the writer says, are interested in keeping their economies ticking. This is an innocent satire about a software start-up which seems to be undergoing a transformation but ultimately remains the same – a failing software start-up struggling to keep alive.
Rajesh Iyer, a young and ambitious sales professional finds himself at the crossroads – whether to toe the line of the CEO Venky in Oregon software technologies and stick around with the ever-complaining sales team or to take a plunge into new territory like a business school in USA. The story begins with Rajesh’s return to Oregon software technologies after a futile attempt to get into a good business school in the US. He notices a marked improvement in the set up of the office. What was a rat- infested place in a vegetable market was now a modern, state of the art infrastructure owned by an upcoming Bollywood star. The earlier enthusiastic workforce had been replaced by a bureaucratic set up controlled by an angel investor all the way from his luxury villa in New York. Rajesh is lost amidst all the din; confusion reigns supreme, revenues dwindle and tempers rise. He realizes he has to find a way out or become a party to all this.
The novel is written in the form of a narrative which adds to the plausibility of the situation through its true to life characters like Venky the CEO who is against acquiring an MBA but has no qualms about using higher connections in the government to get his work done or Rajamanikyam demonstrating Oregon products or Girish Reddy, the writer. It takes the reader from the plush corporate board rooms of Bangalore to the seedy hotels in Delhi in search of successful sales transactions.
The Sales Room is hilarious at times – the use of profanities of course would not appeal to the more refined readers but suits the character of the protagonist. Manu Ramesh never makes any pretensions of writing a highly eloquent subject matter. He surveys the bird eyed view of sales pitches, project management software, presentations and dubious methods in which to sell products and technology. In the process he also gives us a glimpse into the families of these sales professionals and how they too get affected. His portrayal of the women characters however, could have been less trivial. He talks of voluptuous Coorgi women, the busty Polish graphic designer, the sexy Mangalorean Sonal Heggade as if their physical attributes were all that could be said of them. But one could perhaps overlook this as the immature confessions of a young bachelor frustrated, deprived and isolated in a salesroom.
All in all, The Sales Room is a good time- pass read.
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