Amreeka! It’s every Indian’s fantasy to live the American Dream, or should we say, the Amreekan dream.
Atulya Mahajan does far more than to just paint a picture of US-of-A, its culture and the people. While everybody else in their book are busy milking the “Engineering experiences in India” cow, for his maiden book, Atulya has weaved a story on a different plane. A Master’s degree from an American University. Well, for starters, it’s quite a relief to know that apart from clichéd central love story, he does quite well in actually immersing you into the daily life of a desi student and its challenges.
A couple of Indian students who land up in America to pursue their Master’s degree from Florida State University. Clueless and unfamiliar to their surroundings, the story takes it’s course around the two central characters – Akhil Arora, a nerdy, tacit and ‘homely’ engineer from Delhi who wants to prove to his parents that he can stay on his own and a certain Mr. Goyalji who won’t stop gloating about his over-glorified son in the States.
The other character is Jaspreet Singh, aka Jazz aka Jazzminator. His sole aim is to find nirvana in his deluded dreams of the American Universities being an exact analogy of the college in the movie American Pie and that the girls and money would be chasing after him as soon as he set his foot on the American soil. His awesomeness would be too much to handle by the local girls and even his Pamelaji from Baywatch would welcome him with open arms.
Both these desis find themselves in situations out of their control and they better themselves and come out at the end, victorious, with an experience of a lifetime. But there’s more to that. It can easily be seen that Atulya is narrating excerpts from his own life when he was in those days of his life. He does a very good job at bringing out the nuances of life, its aspects in a foreign land and the acclimatization of any desi in Amreeka.
It’s a brisk paced novel, fit for a short train ride or flight. You get involved in the lives of the characters. Although, there are a few petty typos, overuse of certain words and not as much of a stress on big vocabulary, the spirit of the book is mainly due to its fast paced story. It will leave you wanting for more and sometimes, the curiosity and hilarity makes you wonder about your own life in nostalgic pulses. It is one of those books where the idea takes precedence and one clearly sees what is served on the table.
The book is not a work of literature. Although the target audience is the youth, but the author seems to have missed out on the point that many mature readers might take pleasure in it too. Plus, Random House India needed to do a better job on their editing too.
In short, this book is a good buy if you are looking for a relaxed time-out. The content is never boring nor devoid of any picturesque descriptions. It’s wittily humorous, the characters are affable and the concept of “You can take an Indian out of India, but you cannot take India out of any Indian” is quite the evoking emotion to leave a smile on the face when you are finished with the book.