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Literature / Bangalore Calling

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Bangalore Calling is the debut novel by former corporate executive Brinda Narayan. It focuses on various characters working at a Bangalore based call center named CallUs. The CEO is an IIT (Indian Institute of Technology, India’s MIT) graduate who is chafing that his call center isn’t as successful and renown as the one started by his classmate Basu. Yvette is an Anglo-Indian English language and accent trainer who starts to have serious misgivings about what she is doing to her trainees. Jimi is a spoilt rich kid who thinks he is Jimi Hendrix reincarnated. An innocent Malayalee girl named Bitty hooks up with Jimi and her life plunges. And a toilet cleaner’s petty theft just might bring the entire company crashing.

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Tropes found here are

  • Author Tract: Through her character Yvette, Brinda states her own misgivings about what assuming an accent and completely different persona does to the typical Operator from India’s mindset.
  • Deus ex Machina: Just when it looks like CallUs is going to be taken over by BODMAS, Basu’s accounting scam is uncovered, thereby taking BODMAS down, making it ripe for CallUs to acquire.
  • Disappeared Dad: Yvette’s father committed suicide by train years ago.
  • Driven to Suicide : Basu.
  • Expy: Basu is one of South Indian IT tycoon Ramalingam Raju, the philanthropic CEO of Satyam one of the Big Three of Indian IT, along with Infosys and Wipro. Raju was revealed to have been running an Enronesque profit inflation scam just as Basu is shown having done here.
  • Gentleman Ranker: In a manner of speaking. Jimi is a rich kid working as a call center operator - a job normally taken up by lower middle class people looking to move into the middle class.
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  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion : Deconstructed. Bitty the sweet innocent girl gets seduced and knocked up by Jimi. She is clearly ashamed of it, but being an unwed mother is a lot worse. She therefore goes to a very discrete clinic funded by Basu.
  • Granola Girl : Akriti, the company’s resident psychologist.
  • Heir Club for Men: Why the shuttle bus driver keeps playing devotional music all the time. He wants his next child to be a boy. Ultimately he gets over it.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Akriti thinks the company CEO, who she’s taken a shine to, is this fiery passionate visionary. When his personality test reveals him to be an icy inflexible executive who only prefers to follow standard procedures, it puts a damper on their budding relationship.
  • Innocent Bigot: Akriti reveals she is one, when she uses the phrase “dings” to refer to Eurasian people in India. Yvette who is Anglo-Indian is understandably miffed.
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  • Honest Corporate Executive: Basu comes off as this. He actually isn’t.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Bitty is the operator who has the most difficulty losing her “mother tongue influence”. She ditches the American accent completely and cussed out an irate customer in a thick Malayalam accent before quitting.
  • Nouveau Riche: Bitty starts making a ton of cash at the call center, but immediately starts blowing it on tacky clothes, makeup and jewelry.
  • Operator from India: A company full of them.
  • Really Gets Around: Jimi. Akriti too. The two of them even do each other sometimes.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: Basu to the CallUs CEO
  • Unfortunate Name: CallUs sounds a lot more like “callous” or “callus”. And BODMAS is an acronym taught to every single math student in India to remember the order of precedence for arithmetic functions. But owing to Basu’s portly figure, it becomes very similar to “body mass”.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Jimutha is a listless rich stoner who doesn’t need this job. He is only here because his parents twisted his arm to get a job.
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