Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best is the story of Kalyani, a woman working in the IT sector, a bit on her own terms. She is unmarried and forty; she has spunk, spirit and a great support system to keep her going. Things get out of hand with the organisation facing layoffs and she too feels the heat. She too is not sure of which side of the layoffs she is on so it causes a lot of heartburn all around.
This book is about her life, her office, life choices, and the nasty politics she faces. I understood that the crazy politics and subterfuge is a defence mechanism for colleagues to try and make the best of the situation. The office details, the descriptions of the campus and colleagues are very well etched. The interviews for the layoffs had me banging my head with the kind of answers Kalyani got. I would have fired a few on the spot!!
This book is a bit on the bulky side, it has a few places when I felt it dragged a bit with too much thinking or as I would say overthinking. However, halfway through I was enjoying her ‘thoughts or the alternate realities she imagined’ as I understood what she faced and her sense of humour.
Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best is sprinkled with humorous incidents, funny comments and one-liners that will crack you up. At times, I was laughing out loud at what Kalyani felt like doing and while she maintained a calm demeanour. The names that she gave to her colleagues were apt and interesting. Whales, Sharks, Sweet Spot, Side Kick, The Facilitator, Thought Collector, Clueless Candidates, Present but Not Contributing and the Silly Employees in between made for an interesting read. True, the book is mainly about the IT sector but it also shows how work is done and what happens when one decides that now I need to stop.
The Q&A session with Hiranya and Dulcet, the psychic predictions of Angela, the threat of ‘Big Data’ and the search for her haven lead Kalyani to many an embarrassing situation. The strange case of ‘Weepies’ that I had diagnosed quite early in the book made it so relatable as a woman. Whether it was Viji, Jhanavi, Maggi or Asha the women made their presence felt. The book is not just about the office but the stereotypes women face in the offices as well as in our personal lives. Working or not she is a woman first and no one lets her forget it.
As the story moved and Kalyani visited Japan, I found it to be the most fun part. The country, its culture and the tiny hotel room were pat on. I could relate to her since my room in Paris left me feeling like a giant as well. But the view was fabulous and it was Paris 😀 When I finally figured the title, I loved the book even more. Go on read it and enjoy.
Viji and Gautam form the love interest in the book as their relationship blossoms and Kalyani to finds that something is missing but doesn’t want to fall into the trap of marriage. The difficulties of finding the ‘right one’ and to actually know that you are looking for one is well explored. The trials and errors of the educated, working women and many middle-aged ‘uncles’ later we understand how difficult it is for them to find Mr Right.
The journey of Kalyani as a woman with the physical, emotional changes and the career crisis is the crux of the book. She navigates through it all with doubts, dilemmas and determination. Any woman would do well to learn from her. Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best shines the light on the working woman, the single woman, the divorcee and the married one. All strong women and all trying to succeed in a world not giving them any free passes. This book celebrates women in a practical, no-nonsense way, working or not; women can have it all. Just Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best, Lady!
Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best
Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best is a slice-of-life drama about the Indian quest for ever-elusive happiness. It is actually a tale of growing old and facing our fears.
‘Theory of Karma-and-Death… There was just one flaw in this otherwise perfect theory– the assumption that a caring God was diligently keeping track of every individual’s good and bad deeds; something that Hiranya and I knew was simply not true. And yet, He did seem to ensure a balance of sorts. Clearly there was something else at work here, something a lot more straightforward, something a lot less reassuring.’
Meet Kalyani — a successful career woman who had cracked the God-code in her teens and had defined her own life-code with the help of King Hiranyakashyap. That is how, at forty, Kalyani lives life on her own terms and has it all – a good career, a decent amount of money, and the carefree life of a singleton.
Until the layoffs, that is.
That is when life begins to unravel, and all of a sudden, Kalyani is faced with the distasteful prospect of laying people off, the disturbing prospect of being laid-off, the chilling spectre of cancer, and the unfathomable Weepies.
As life spirals out of control, Kalyani finds herself teetering at the edge, desperately clinging on to sanity with the help of a mysterious psychic and a dead aunt.
Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best is a slice-of-life drama about the Indian quest for ever-elusive happiness. It uses the tale of Hiranyakashyap to explore how many of us componentize that state-of-being in order to make it achievable, and how that very fact gets in the way of us achieving it.
While the story dwells upon our hire-and-fire corporate work culture, our materialistic lives, our devotion to ‘wealth creation’, and inevitable middle-age angst, it is actually a tale of growing old and facing our fears.
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