Author Paddy Rangappa shares insights into ‘Been There Bungled That’


Been There Bungled That is a funny look at our everyday journey through life – navigating career, managing relationships, encountering people and traveling outside our comfort zone (physically and metaphorically) – through the eyes of the fictitious Jags Srinivasan.

In a way Jags is a reflection of me. Many of his fictional fumbles are based on my real-life ones. Like him, I studied engineering not out of passion for the field but because I made it into a good engineering college. However Jags and I are not alone in this regard. A large section of my class applied for engineering because that was what you did after school. And if you secured admission, you went on to study engineering (though ‘study’ may be a strong term to apply to what I did in engineering college).

However, even with my strong penchant to goof things up, I would have found it difficult to stumble through five distinct careers in one lifetime. After a brief stint in engineering, I settled upon marketing and have restricted my bungling to this field ever since. But I’ve made Jags jump from engineering to consultancy to advertising to marketing to banking because it’s funnier that way. And while some people say ‘truth is stranger than fiction’, I submit that fiction should at least be funnier.

Which brings me to the next point: Been There Bungled That is unabashedly a humour book. It may offer you pearls of wisdom that redefine your life and make you a better person, both physically and philosophically, but most likely it won’t. However I hope it will make you laugh. And that’s not a bad thing, I say. Consider how many things don’t make you laugh today. The price of onions, corruption in high places, corruption in low places, delayed flights, stressful job, pollution, irritating co-workers… I could go on, but you can read today’s newspaper to get a better idea of what I’m talking about. If George Mallory climbed Mount Everest ‘because it is there’, I write humour for the opposite reason: because it is not there in everyday life, at least not in sufficient quantity to enjoy.

As a famous person said – or if he didn’t, he should have – ‘Humour may not make the world spin but it will help keep you from spinning off it.’

About the book

Jagannath Srinivasan, also referred to as Jags, is a bright, albeit highly confused, upwardly mobile male armed with an enviable IIT + IIM education. He drifts through life in benign auto pilot, easily swayed by things he reads, people he meets and advice he receives. One day while trying to break into his professors house to submit a late assignment he chances upon a girl who he ultimately marries.

Armed with a wife, he is let loose to make his mark on the world. Step aboard as Jags goes from one job to another and one country to another with his self-deprecating humour and idiosyncratic view of cultures. Life is infinitely happier when you can laugh at yourself experience it with the lovable Jags as he bungles and stumbles through it.

The book is now available for pre-order here:

The Penguin India Blog

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