The Goings-on In A Call Centre

Review of Call Centre – An Inside Story; by Vikrant Shukla; Mehta Publishing House; Rs 250

Review by Mahesh Awasthi

What happens behind the big buildings of glass? What does a small-town youngster do in a big city? Vikrant Shukla answers these questions in his Call Centre: An Inside Story. The story line is amazing, well-written and managed by Shukla. The transition phase of Shiv – the protagonist of the book – from a small town boy to a big city man is portrayed really well.

After an unsuccessful stint in a law firm, Shiv tries his luck in a call center. Getting the job was only half the battle. He faced further mind trips when the work culture of a call centre dawned on him. Gradually he understands the hardships, hectic schedules and effects of the fatigue of the night shift on its employees though it offers attractive salaries and incentives. The book also deals with the causes that make youth addictive to bad habits that get them temporary relief of their frustrations, but the long hard of recovery seldom creeps into their minds, at least not until the last moment.

The author’s words are just too GOOD. I myself started thinking about how it is for a migrant man to face the perils ahead of him in his new city of choice. Initially, the story just walks like a tortoise, the middle part is fast like a man’s stride and end shoots like a tiger. Kudos to the writer as it is a practise that big names follow and he’s done it well. With his first book the author has proved that there is some potential in him and he can make a blast. (I am waiting to read his next book!) I would like to meet author some day as I want to appreciate him for his truthfulness in writing this book.

I feel that the price of the book is just too much, at Rs 250, in comparison to Chetan Bhagat 2 States and other books in the similar category. But this factor can be excuse when we look at the cover page. The quality and execution is good and print is simply awesome. Over bold is what best describes the cover of the book: I should say it takes quite a bit of courage to put the picture of a condom on the cover! If I am able to read publisher’s mind right, it was done for attracting potential buyers in big stores. And no doubt this idea worked and people are buying this book. Nobody knew Vikrant Shukla’s name as a writer, but now a small marketing tactic worked for him and he has joined the ‘author of a bestselling book’ club.

Two chapters in the book are no way related to the story line. They increased the page numbers but no value added to the story line. Good as entertainment part but negative impression on readers as they are useless for the story running in background. You wait for something to happen and nothing happens. Author seems to have a strong family bonding as many times his lectures go on about the strength of the family ties, but at times I found them dragging and boring. As to the characters, I felt bad for Sumit; Tanya was amazing and Alex made me laugh a hundred times. Author could have ended this story on a positive note, if he wanted to, but it’s a tragic one. I hate stories with a painful ending.

Verdict: The book tries to give the readers a saaf-saaf idea about what goes on in a call centre. Chetan Bhagat’s One night @ a Call Center was all fiction and nothing else. Shukla managed to stick to the reality. Good work!

The reviewer, Mahesh Awasthi, works for an IT firm in Mumbai. Reading books is his primary passion and writing about them is the second in row. He is 36 years old and I make my home with my wife and two kids. He does not have any favourite authors. If he likes the book; he likes that author. He loves to read fiction that is close to reality.

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Rating: 9.1/10 (26 votes cast)
The Goings-on In A Call Centre, 9.1 out of 10 based on 26 ratings

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010 at 1:14 am and is filed under Non-Fiction, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. August 5th, 2010 | Rimi Agarwal says:

    I agree with Mahesh…. I read the book and I really liked it. My brother works for a Call Centre and I always wanted to know more about a Call Centre…. Vikrant as an author answered all of my questions.

    Thanks for writing such a wonderful book. Kudos….

    Looking forward to read Vikrant’s next book….. Any idea to when it will be published?


  2. August 5th, 2010 | Ayesha says:

    I too agree with Mahesh…. Vikrant has done an awesome job with this book. This is a wonderfully written book, which gives insights to people who always wonder as to what the call centre’s all about.
    I am a big fan of Vikrant and eagerly awaiting his next book. 🙂

  3. August 5th, 2010 | Mrinal says:

    A nice book to read….I liked it!!!
    For those who wish to get in touch with the author, he can be contacted at vikrant.inside@gmail.com
    Hope Rimi will be happy to know that.

  4. August 10th, 2010 | Asma Siddiqui says:

    I read about this book on some kindle website. I had to hunt a lot to get the book as I was not able to find it at most of the stores. I ordered it online from Flipkart. I had to wait for 15 days to get the book. But… It was worth waiting for this book.

    I work for a call centre and I was able to visualize everything. I felt like I am in the book – Like I viewed a story. Thanks to Vikrant.

    It will be great if anyone can tell me when the next book of his will be out. (I mailed Vikrantbut got no revert :(…)

  5. August 17th, 2010 | Mohd. Alam Munawar says:

    Jiyo… Jiyo…
    Finally I read a book for the first time that was written for Indians!!!
    This book was totally out of high funda English and it was like reading a Hindi book.

    Good job Author, I will read your second, third, fourth, fifth books as well.

  6. August 18th, 2010 | Vikrant Shukla says:

    Hi All,

    Thanks for all the fantastic remarks!!!
    I read that most of you want to know about my next book….
    It is completed now and I’m soon expecting to submit it to a publisher; I can’t tell much at this juncture.

    Just to please your inquisitiveness – the name of the book will be “Life – A Sucking Trap”

    Thanks again!!!
    Vikrant Shukla

  7. September 4th, 2010 | shivani chopra says:

    Amazing book; worth a read – just thought how it would look like when translated to Hindi 🙂

    Amazing treat for mind this weekend…. Will recommend for reading to every call centre employee!!!

  8. September 8th, 2010 | Mohini Singh says:

    I would like to differ from Mr Mahesh. This book was a set of all positive and no negative at all.

    The two additional chapters that Mahesh spoke about, maybe he found those chapters to be non-story related, but from my point of view those chapters were important to the story to show the transition phase of Shiv (chapter about Water Park) and second chapter (About Holkar Bridge) was important to show the bonding between Shiv and Alex.

    I found the book a complete entertainer and all my friends on Facebook (425) are waiting for Vikrant’s second book.
    Vikrant, YOU ROCK!!!

  9. October 16th, 2010 | Surendra Mohan Dubey says:

    Hello Mahesh,

    Nice review.
    This book was a worthy read. Keep on posting nice reviews like this.
    Good job – keep it up.


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