Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shit happens: Desi Boy in America

Shit happens: Desi Boy in America

By Karan Puri

Looks like I am on a winning spree. I won this book on GoodReads.

In this book: Shit happens, Desi Boy in America. Anurag the main character is the typical geeky Delhi boy, with a typical Indian family. He is the underdog, bullied by all, given unwanted advice by pesky relatives and to top it all he has to deal with his parents - a father who loves to down pegs and a mother who has a propensity to break into sobs at the drop of the hat. He leads a boring, safe, invisible existence. You get the picture?

But then, American beckons.He gets a scholarship to the University of Rochester. Overnight, the underdog,become a family hero. Geeky suddenly becomes cool. It is a dream come true. He was preparing for this since ages. This study trip to the USA was a goal, a goal to get even or more than even with the school cricket captain and his girl friend. They and many others who sniggered at him during school would fade into oblivion, whereas he would emerge a hero in a brave new world. He had earned straight A's all his life, now was the time to let the world know he had arrived.

But was Anurag prepared for America? His first drink was on his flight to New York. His first brush with two white women, was on this very same flight. He will probably never forget the washroom at Frankfurt airport - which was a stopover, where he found himself without the familiar lotta (mug)but fortunately lots of toilet paper, and he used it all up. And his real adventure began the moment he stepped into New York.

He finds Lizzy. On reaching the University he also finds the man she loves - who becomes his room-mate. They help him settle in USA and teach him the ropes, perhaps in the initial days all he teaches them is that it is chicken-tikki that they eat and not chicken-tattis (tattis is the Indian slang for shit!). Later he proves that America, with their help thrown in for good measure, had transformed a geeky, shy, introvert into a mature individual who walks the talk.

I was expecting the book to be more on campus life, than on the personal life of the 'Desi boy', but I was not disappointed. The book is a breeze to read and the chapters manage to describe quite well,how a Desi boy learns to fit in USA.

Anurag's first cheeky response was at the immigration counter on arrival in New York. He had said, he had come to study and had counter questioned the custom officer on whether that fell in the category of business or pleasure. Pleasure if you return back to your own country, was the reply. After all, no one wanted their job taken by a 'Desi boy'. But, I shall not provide a spoiler. To know whether or not Anurag came back to India or stayed on, or whether he and Lizzy lived happily ever after, pick up this book.

It is a light read and will provide you many a chuckle.

The Inscrutable Americans, penned by Anurag Mathur in the 1990s was adopted into a film. It would be interested to see if this book is also developed into a movie.

Note: I got this book as a giveaway on GoodReads.

No comments: