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Monday, August 26, 2013

Amreekandesi by Atulya Mahajan


"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books visit thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com."

Plot (from the jacket):

Akhil Arora, a young, dorky engineer in Delhi, cant wait to get away from home and prove to his folks that he can be on his own. Meanwhile in a small town in Punjab, Jaspreet Singh, aka Jassi, is busy dreaming of a life straight out of American Pie. As fate would have it, they end up as roommates in Florida. But the two boys are poles apart in their perspectives and expectations of America. While Akhil is fiercely patriotic and hopes to come back to India in a few years, Jassi finds his Indian identity an uncomfortable burden and looks forward to finding an American girl with whom he can live happily ever after.

Laced with funny anecdotes and witty insights, Amreekandesi chronicles the quintessential immigrant experience, highlighting the clash of cultures, the search for identity, and the quest for survival in a foreign land.

About the author (from GoodReads):
Atulya Mahajan is the author of amreekandesi.com, a popular Indian satire blog. Born and raised in Delhi, he moved to the US in 2004 for his Masters and stayed on for five years before returning to India, in a Swades-inspired moment. During his time in the US, he started his blog to chronicle the lives of Indians living abroad, and this book is the culmination of that vision. He also writes occasional humour columns for the Times of India, Crest Edition.

Ever since he returned to India, Atulya has spent thousands of hours shouting at random taxi drivers and motorcyclists who overtake from the wrong side. If you want to see him convert into the Hulk, just honk at him at a red light.

When not busy writing hilarious pieces, Atulya works at an investment bank as a technologist. He claims to be the first man ever to have 24-pack abs, and has reportedly tried about 485 remedies to stop hairfall, all of them albeit unsuccessfully.

My take on the book:
Cover design: 
The comical cover design of the book serves best to portray the typical genre of the book to great extent and the title does the rest of the job.

The attractive colours of the cover and the comical design on the front serves the basic idea of the book. Its a perfect-ten when compared to the plot of the story: connected to America and comical.

Random House India. This book is notably the first for us from these publishers. I have heard very high about these publishers.I have also heard that Random House India and Penguin India has merged together. I doubt the truth of the piece of information, though. Hope we get to read more books from these publishers.

The language is simple and easy-to-read. Language is one reason that the book is such a breezy read.

Story and other aspects:
It is the story of two guys - Akhil Arora and Jaspreet Singh, who are just done with their graduation and are planning their next steps. Both have are very diverse. They have very little in common. Like, while one takes off to the US in an attempt to earn a good degree and a standard job to fulfill, the other has only aims at only three things: girls, girls and girls. Coincidentally, both of them come to share the same flat and eventually take up their journeys to achieve their respective goals.

The story has two protagonists and if pondered, Akhil comes as the main lead, because most of the story revolves around Akhil and his story. Nonetheless, author tries to balance the role of both the protagonists alternatively. It is Akhil story of how he secures a seat in the Florida University; how he goes on to study; how he find his love; how he succeeds/fails in his life, etc. Most of the emotions and the beautiful anecdotes are expressed through Akhil's story.

If the author has delivered what is to be delivered through the character, named Akhil, then why the second character - Jaspreet? Well, I think the second protagonist is as important to the story as the other. Without Jaspreet, the story would be devoid of the humor factor. It is his character, his share of experiments and experiences that tickle the readers and imprints the anecdotes into their memories for the years to come.

The best aspect of the book is the author's narrative style with a rich witty sense of humor. Believe me, everything in the book is very much predictable, but you go on to enjoy the author's narration. If not for the hilarious narration, I wouldn't have gone half way through the book even. The funny anecdotes and the witty insights of the author makes the book worthwhile and the stuff to receive entertainment from.

However funny the story might be, I think, it is better to keep it short. The length of the book is a big negative for the book. The last 100 pages of the book was a real labor. To top that, the humor that adorned the earlier pages of the book have disappeared during the last 100 pages, I felt. By then, the book lost its charm and I had a hard time completing it. On the other hand, the author had thrown in some real mind-boggling twist, trying to inject interest back into the readers. While I can't say he failed entirely, it might have worked with some readers, but for me, it was a strenuous task to get through with the last 100 pages.

Strangle, I started to relate this story to the story of Complete / Convenient by Ketan Bhagat. The only difference was, while Ketan's book dealt with the story of a guy who went abroad post marriage for work, this story is about the boys who have gone abroad for further-studies. Though Ketan's story takes place in Australia and this story, in the US of A, there is little difference with the anecdotes. People who have enjoyed Ketan's book will surely enjoy this book.

Final Verdict:
The book pretty entertaining and good for time-pass. Worth a read.

To people who loved Ketan's first book Complete / Convenient. To all those people who plan to go abroad for studies. The anecdotes in the story might do a great deal for you. Especially if you are going to the US.


"This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books visit thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com."


Title: Amreekandesi

Author: Atulya Mahajan

Tagline: Masters of America

ISBN (edition I've read): 9788184003956


Read between: 20-08-2013 to 26-08-2013

Genre: Humor/Drama

Publishers: Random House India

Pages: 310

MRP: ₹ 199

For the best deal of the book, click here: 

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