There’s No Love On Wall Street
Author: Ira Trivedi
The background: an Indian girl with ‘moral values’ but ‘cool’ enough to hang out with any guy that comes knocking on her door. The setting: Wall Street — stylish, posh, elusive... spirit crushingly selfish. The quest: to get the ‘jet setting’ life of an investment banker. Yeah, it could have been the perfect chick lit, had it had the incisiveness of Sophie Kinsella or even the smooth, almost effortless story-telling ability that Lauren Weisberger boasts of. But Trivedi’s protagonist, Riya Jain, rants too much, drinks way more, flirts with men and is too uptight to actually sleep with them.
The narrative starts off on an exciting note though. Small-town girl Riya is a dull pre-med nerd at Wellesley College, until she is lured by the sassy banking girls on campus. The pace builds up as she ventures on ‘Project Banking Babe’. She turns from ugly duckling to beautiful swan, as she ditches latex gloves for Pradas. There are moments of humour, when Riya tells us how one Mr Chadda, back home in India, copies and stitches designer business suits for her, and her mother attempting to set her up with wealthy NRIs.
But for Riya, Goldstein Smith represents the Holy Grail. And she lands her dream job, after three years of hard work at college, when she sets foot into its Manhattan office, as the ‘summer analyst’. Much like Miranda, in Devil Wears Prada, Riya’s boss is evil. She soon finds out she is but a menial at the best bank on the Street, doomed to a 12-week imprisonment of working on Excel sheets and Powerpoint slides. Competition comes in the form of a geeky intern, wild night outs at NYC’s hippest clubs follow, and even a brief affair with her team VP. Oh, there’s that Cinderella ball too! Of course, there’s no love on Wall Street, as she soon realises she’s just a pawn in the big bad world of banking. She quits.
But Riya fails to emerge as a coming-of-age character even in a
Bildungsroman. She remains a confused ‘Indian’ who hates her
‘Indianness’, is a sucker for the high life and her final redemption through writing is almost forced. But the microscopic look at banking is severely convincing. Plus, the BlackBerry is where it rightfully belongs, in banking, and not in the manicured palms of teen princesses.