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A breezy story of a salesgirl at her workplace

CultureA breezy story of a salesgirl at her workplace

Wisecracks and wisdom unite in this unique story of a salesgirl who is a clueless newbie at the outset but a firecracker inside. The sunny streets of Chennai provide a beautiful backdrop to the book, “Mis(s)adventures of a Salesgirl” by Aashisha Chakraborty, as Ena blunders through her internship, meeting a variety of people (including stalkers, strangers, and dragons), watching Fast and Furious in Tamil, waiting and walking and biking and steamrolling those who come in her way. It was equally enjoyable and inspiring to read the story of this 25-year-old girl, fresh out of college, entering a new domain, charging ahead, unfazed by the treatment meted out to her or the occupational hazards she discovers or the casual sexism she encounters at the workplace. The plot thickens as she gets wind of a 25-year-old secret that everyone in her family has hidden from her. The book is a realistic depiction of the unsaid sales rules and the tumultuous dog-eat-dog corporate world where a rookie flounders to find her footing. It is a treat to read about Ena’s shenanigans on her hilarious ride as she tries to steer her way through sales beats, battling language barriers, male bias, hygiene issues, unwelcome advances, and the stifling heat. The narrative is nuanced with a simple breezy story underlining a deeper layer of family complexities and workplace wiles portraying an honest open outlook of the female workforce in sales centred on the story of a woman out to prove herself.
As the book progresses, the characters seem to take on a life of their own, making it unputdownable. It is sprinkled with sales tips inspiring guffaws like “speak the local language for God’s sake”, “use jugaad” and “learn the art of waiting.” The girl, Ena, is a gentle changemaker and a breath of fresh air. She is a funky but original woman whose world is turned upside down with upheavals in both her professional and personal worlds. The best part about the book is that gender has been portrayed sensitively without any exaggeration or falsities and the unflagging spirit of the young girl come out clearly from the novel. At the end of the read, you will want more- more of the story, more of the cheer, more of the spirit that is redolent of the book.
The author’s style is light and airy and causes the reader to chuckle out loud on numerous instances. The story is a curious combo of turbulence and a soft breeze as Aashisha subtly bares the grim truths of a patriarchal society. The plot is perfect and the writing is compelling with complex issues being handled with maturity and a slight sense of humor. This fictional take on a woman’s challenges at the workplace has been portrayed accurately in a well-crafted story which, as Shobhaa De puts it, is “young and interesting” and promises to take you on a rollercoaster ride.
With ample anecdotes that take the reader on a relatable journey, this seems to be the only fiction book on sales and one of those MBA books which might double up as a bildungsroman. Cute, reckless and cheeky with a serious undercurrent of casual sexism directed at women, Mis(s)adventures of a Salesgirl is a joy to read. Spunky, unforgettable, quirky, fresh and fun. I can easily see the book being made into a movie or a web series. Aashisha Chakraborty has done a fab job of pinning the emotions, instincts, and intensity of a fresh MBA intern looking to grow. She has managed to bring a dewy freshness with her honest and brave writing. She is a writer to watch out for, perhaps the next young fiction writer to overhaul the reading landscape.

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