Who Let The Dork Out?
Robin Varghese — Malayali, an IIT-IIM graduate and a dork — is a man with a plan and more often than not, it goes wrong. We met him for the first time in 2010, when Sidin Vadukut wrote the hilarious Dork: The Incredible Adventures of Robin ‘Einstein’ Varghese. In the third book of the series, Who Let The Dork Out?, Robin is trying hard to become the CEO by bagging a deal for his investment firm with the Ministry for Urban Regeneration and Public Sculpture (MURPS). As a bonus, this would save India’s face in the international media as preparations for the international Allied Victory Games 2010 are at level zero. Yet again, Einstein, the master strategist, is at the epicentre of all that goes wrong at his workplace and his own life.
The story is supposed to be a situational comedy, but fails to nail it. The Allied Victory Games 2010 are obviously a stand-in for the recent Commonwealth Games and there’s only so much humour to be milked from scams by ministers and the laid-back attitude of a ministry (especially since hard news is often more absurd than fiction). Of course, the book has its funny moments, but it doesn’t make you laugh like the other two Dork books.
There are few instances of sitcom-esque humour. For example, to impress a minister from Mumbai, Robin orders a statue of Shivaji from an European sculptor. The statue is gorgeous and of Sivaji all right; but of Sivaji Ganeshan, the south Indian actor. Sugandh, Robin’s right hand man, comes to the rescue and manages to fool the minister by convincing him that tubbiness is considered a virtue in South India. Ente Deivame (that’s “my god” in Malayalam, if you please).
The repetitive plot of people in office trying to demean Robin and of Sugandh snooping around to keep a tab on office people was fun in the first two books, but now it’s become repetitive.
The first two books in Sidin Vadukut’s Dork series are hilarious. In them, Vadukut’s sense of humour, quotes, jokes and expletives livened up the most serious situations. The futility of Robin’s plans stared you in the face and yet you hoped the best, because the Dork’s “quick thinking on feet” saved the day. There was a lesson too — don’t take yourself too seriously. Unfortunately, the third book doesn’t have that same quality.