Set between 1998 and 2004 when the seeds of computer software, call center industry and modern entrepreneurship were seeded. Today the world witnesses its flowering. This is about revival of the entrepreneurial instincts of a people subjugated by foreign rule for 500 years inspiring Indians to look beyond jobs and venture out.
Ajay the protagonist is a representative of “Age of Aspiration,” which he finds as a rat race and pulls away and his search for his meaning of life propels him to become a software entrepreneur. It is also a comment on the competitive middle class society of dog eats dog where ideals, morals and ethics are routinely sacrificed on the altar of becoming successful. What aspired them?Looking beyond tangibles,he sees it as a rat race without a moral compass and little ideals. If you win you still remain a rat. The novel traces the gradual maturing of the protagonist.
With a rural upbringing he is a misfit in this aspiring milieu and least likely to succeed. Can he and how? His basic goodness and upbringing helps him in negotiating the tricky environment and transforms him into a perceptive adventurer. After a listless employment and a course in computer programming he lands in Bangalore in 1998, the country’s hot software destination. He has no credentials, street smartness nor the cunningness required in the job market where supply far exceeds demand. All he has is a fierce desire to succeed. Will he? During his course he befriends Mythili and feels for her but unable to express it. Will he find true love in her?
He finds a job in an upcoming software company, whose proprietor is moved by his selfless, non-complaining, cheerful behavior. His search for excellence is genuine and childlike. Girls swoon over him and he keeps away and that increases his appeal. At a party in the proprietor’s house he meets Asha the new PRO of the Company, a Bombayite who has a past to hide and owns a hotel in Ooty. At Sushma the proprietor’s wife’s insistence he goes with her for a holiday to her hotel. He is too innocent to realize he is a victim of games being played and being seduced.
On a motorcycle ride in the hills she is touched and moved by him. He tells her about his phoenix moment. A phoenix moment is when truth dawns on you and you look back on a particular thread in your life which, often though not necessarily, is a series of misfortunes or uncomfortable moments. The new understanding that comes offers a reason for this chain and the truth that emerges suggests appropriate responses which are new goals and thinking. His phoenix moment is after his girlfriend passes away in Delhi. What is his new resolve?
At a young age he is made the head of new department for solving the software millennium problem, the biggest hoax of the century. He works hard, travels as the Company’s troubleshooter till he decides to venture and build a global business in Elegant programming a little known methodology for creating software.