02 September, 2013

#BookReview :: Amreekandesi - Masters of America by Atulya Mahajan

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.

Going to America for studies and jobs and settling down there is the dream of millions of Indian youth. For them America is the country of hopes and opportunities. Akhil Arora is one such Indian soul hailing from Delhi. While on one hand, he cannot wait to get away from home on the other hand he dreams of returning to India to do his country some good. He is the ‘Swades’ boy.  Jaspreet Singh is yet another Indian soul from a village in Punjab who wishes to go to America. His aspirations are however different from Akhil’s as he dreams of a life right out of American pie. After working odd jobs for a year, when he is accepted in an American university, Akil and Jaspreet find themselves as roommates.

First comes what I did like about this book. The novel deals with the difference between our dreams and the facts of life there and how these two boys, who are poles apart, deal with it. Also, it touches the subjects of parental pressures, personal ambitions and racism even though they fail to make an overall impact. I also, like the author’s witty/humorous take that did make me laugh out once in a while.

What I didn’t like is that this novel managed to stereotype people in the most practised manner. I know it’s the way of life for us Indians, but it is also one habit that we seriously need to break. Stereotyping people, with no matter what intentions, when you are reaching out to million is one habit that our authors and filmmakers need to break out of. Also, sex! Yes we know all the boys are driven by only hormones – no need to point it out to us again and again all the while objectifying the women around them. Jassi’s fixation on ‘Pamelaji’ is simply crazy.

A promising outline, but commercializing the product took the good parts out of the book. While the issues could have been outlined better, selling the book through sex spoiled it for me.

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

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