Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review: Amreekandesi - Masters of America by Atulya Mahajan

On 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.


If there ever was a bible that the nervous 20 year olds about to go abroad to study can read and get an idea of how life will be, Amreekandesi - Masters of America can be one such. On the flip-side  few chapters in the beginning can get boring if you have already lived this life and don't really want a teaser to it, but want to read the story.

The story, as the synopsis suggests, is about two young boys, from Delhi and Punjab, and their journey from preparing for their GRE tests, to finally landing on American soil, studying/living there and managing on their own. For most people who have already crossed this stage of life, it would be a flashback of their own lives. At some points, one would wonder if the book really is a memoir of the author's own experiences.

An an author, a lot of us already know Mahajan is witty and definitely not the stereotype, trying-hard-to-be-funny ones. The book reflects honesty in writing (though the bits where the author explains how things worked back in 2004 was not really required, we were all around eight years ago) and is quirky & insightful. Akhil and Jassi are indeed the two types of youngsters we can classify the Indian students studying abroad in. You will get involved with the characters and want to read on till the very end in one sitting. 

Mahajan is an author I would want to read more of. However, there were a few editorial (proof-reading) errors which did affect my reading experience a bit.

Rating: ****/5 

[This review is for Random House India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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