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Friday, August 9, 2013

Amreekan Desi by Atulya Mahajan

Title: Amreekan Desi
Author: Atulya Mahajan
Publisher:  EBURY PRESS-Random House India
Date:  2013
Price: Rs. 199
Pages: 318
Snapshot: It is the story of Akhil Arora - a studious, hard working, decent guy and Jaspreet Singh aka Jassi the cool dude (or atleast that is what he thinks of himself) from harboring to living and winning the American dream.

The Story from the Critics Perspective:
Akhil Arora, dreams for a masters in the USA, writes his GRE and gets into Florida State University (FSU). As FSU not being in the top 100 universities in the U.S, sending their son away, worrying about his future, etc. makes his parents rebel a little but give in to Akhils wishes. Akhil is determined to prove himself with good grades and make his parents happy. On the other hand all Jassi - the cool punjabi dude thinks America oops Amreeka is all about hot babes and his only motivation is hot babes and a cool life by the beach. He too gets into FSU.

Akhil and Jassi end up becoming room- mates. While Akhil is grounded and sincere, Jassi thinks he is in the U.S. just for fun and it will be all cool there. They are shown the true picture in the very first week, where they are loaded with assignments and deadlines and Jassi barely gets time to live his dream. 

The author highlights the Indian Students groups based in the U.S. who help Indian students, their regular get to gathers, the Indian circle there and how in small yet significant ways an Indian tries to live India away from his motherland. One goes through fun rides as the students go for various trips- the beach side, disneyland, etc; cultural hitches - eating meat of different animals, understanding the American ways and terms and some downs. They meet beautiful girls, yes Jassi too, but Akhil falls seriously for Nandita, a Bengali girl, with a father who hates Punjabi's and you can predict the Mahabharat ahead, though that brings a different flavor to the story.Jassi goes through his own set of experiences in the process of figuring out life, love and priorities for himself. Does he get to meet Pamelaji...well read the book for that ;).

The book doesnt have anything novel or unpredictable, but you love the journey, you laugh and cry with them and become a part of the story and live it till the end.

The Review:
Positives:  Very well written, crisp and hilarious. The author's witty remarks makes the initial part of the story humorous. He also makes sure you cry when Akhil commits suicide. I easily became a part of the story and wanted more. Initially I thought 300+ pages would be a lot for a light read story, however the flow was good I never realized when it ended. 

Negatives:  Apart from a few spellings there are no mistakes. Editing is great.

The verdict: The perfect light way to being a part of The American Dream. A must read for everyone who harbors that.  A fun read for all. 3.5 stars on 5.

About the Author:  Atulya Mahajan is an Indian author and is the creator of the Indian satire blog Professionally a technologist in an investment bank, Atulya Mahajan went to the US in 2004 to complete his Master's degree. He worked there for five years and then returned to India. He started his blog while studying in the US and used it as a platform to share his experiences of people living in a foreign land. Besides this blog, Mahajan also works with theCrest Edition of The Times of India as a columnist and writes occasional humor.

I thank the author for a copy of the book.


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