Ravi Subramanian is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore. He works with a leading foreign bank and has had a career spanning 14 years. If God was a Banker is his first book and was published in 2007. It has sold more than 260,000 copies and has been a national bestseller. The book also won Subramanian the Golden Quill Readers’ Choice Award.


The plot of If God was a Banker revolves around the banking industry. The novel relates the tale of two IIM graduates, who start their career together.

Sundeep is the highly ambitious and unscrupulous antagonist, while Swami is the honest and simple protagonist. The narrative concerns the life and choices of these characters, and the means they choose to advance in their respective careers.

Sundeep is a selfish and manipulative person, who thinks that success is the main goal in life, and that the end justifies the means. He is handsome, dashing, and a topper from IIM Bangalore. He joins NYB as a management trainee and rises to the higher echelons of the bank in a short span of time.

On the other hand, Swami is both hardworking and talented. Coming from a humble and rather impoverished background, he wants to make it big in life. His mother has struggled to make ends meet and provide good education to him and his sister. However, his means to achieve success are based on the unsullied principles of honesty and ethics.

Both of them are mentored by Aditya, who is a banking veteran. He treats them as his protégés and guides them through the highs and lows of their careers. He often lends them a helping hand and acts as a godfather whenever Sundeep and Swami find themselves in a spot of bother.

The narrative spans across three continents and two different periods of time. One is the present and the other largely consists of the flashbacks of both Sundeep and Swami. The author effortlessly switches between both these dimensions frequently. The readers, in turn, need to keep pace with the ever-changing narrative.

This 260-page paperback novel is a light-hearted read. Written à la Bollywood, the plot is replete with countless twists and turns, and – SPOILER ALERT! – a happy ending out of the blue. By his own admission, the author has set forth an insider’s fictionalized view of the experience of Indian banking professionals in overseas banks. He has made good use of basic human emotions such as greed, lust, love, among others, as the main drivers of the story. Subramanian has made a successful attempt at exploring how human relations change based on one’s success and social standing in life.

Ameya Rating:

By and large, If God was a Banker merits an underwhelming 2-star rating from Ameya. The book has been generally written in a plain and easy-to-understand language. However, the author has not shied away from occasionally using a risqué speech that borders on the obscene. Furthermore, the author’s overall portrayal of women is bound to stick out like a sore thumb. The story involves three main female characters, all of whom have been shown as very superficial persons who fall for looks, money, and social standing. Another aspect that will put off most readers is the irksome stereotyping of Indians, especially Tamil Brahmins and South Indians.

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