How to Kidnap the Rich

Rahul Raina

How to Kidnap the Rich
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How to Kidnap the Rich

Rahul Raina

Ramesh Kumar - examinations consultant - wakes up in a room he doesn’t recognise. Next to him is spoilt brat Rudi, drunk and high on cocaine from another night of binging. Suddenly, two goons enter the room - they kidnap both boys and chop off Ramesh’s pinky finger.


Rudi is a star - he took a national entrance exam for further education and came top in the whole of India. Or at least everyone in the country thinks he did. He has his own television show ‘Beat the Brain’ where he is pitted against India’s bright young hopes, vying to be clever and get rich.

But behind the scenes of ‘Beat the Brain’, Ramesh, a chaiwallah’s son from the streets of Delhi, feeds answers to Rudi through an earpiece. Because Ramesh isn’t just an examination consultant, he takes exams on behalf of the children of wealthy people - parents who want their kids to go to Harvard, work at Google and live in America. He never intended to come top in the whole of India. He never meant to make stupid Rudi a star.

When someone discovers their secret, blackmail, kidnap and extortion are followed by national disgrace. How did things get so out of hand? Delhi has a dark side and it is closing in on Ramesh and Rudi, their fame, their cash and their cars, their hopes and dreams.

Review

Working his way from being the son of an abusive chai seller to the ‘manager’ of one of India’s most beloved television game show hosts, Ramesh Kumar has done many things, including securing the top place at the All India exam, the most important university entrance exam for school students. The catch? He sat it for someone else.

Soon Ramesh is working with his new ‘boss’ – the man he sat the exam for – to become as wealthy as he possibly can, escape the poverty that plagued much of his childhood and make amends for the mistakes he believes he made in the past. But Ramesh finds out the hard way that getting rich is not as easy as he thought. First, he must prevent his boss from giving away their examination secret, while also avoiding the wrath of a temperamental and sleazy TV producer with an agenda of his own. Plus, Ramesh is falling in love with a beautiful and trusting colleague. A sudden kidnapping throws his plans into chaos and soon Ramesh and his boss are involved in an increasingly complicated web of lies from which they need to untangle themselves.

How to Kidnap the Rich is Rahul Raina’s debut novel and touches on a wide range of issues in India. From a critique of Western intervention to the treatment of women, to caste, class and corruption, Raina’s writing opens a window into the multifaceted realities of growing up in India. How to Kidnap the Rich is a fast- paced and darkly humorous novel and will appeal to those who enjoyed Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger.


Julia Gorman is a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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