The world goes around and comes back to the same place they say. I was taken on a journey, which brought me back to where I started, when I read the following novels. The Inscrutable Americans, some kind of defines the path followed by more than a thousand Indians, who go out to US in hunt for higher studies and higher glory with a profound settlement strategy. They quiet feel US is some kind of atonement, in their small cantonment.
Anurag Mathur defines his central character Gopal with characteristics disembarking as and when the pages of the book keep turning and the story unfolds itself. A guy from the hamlet of India, goes to US for his higher studies. He has never been in a city in India, is completely taken aback by the city culture in US.
A complete catastrophic change of paradigm and morality, which has been portrayed in a rather hilarious endeavour. The author tickle that laughter bone. The innocence of Gopal and the more extravagant American born Randy, brings the humorous coefficient which multiplies with the story.
The one thing I will never forget from this book is this, The offer by "a very good looking, black man, dressed in a breathtakingly beautiful gray overcoat" of "some real live pussy" begins the theme of the book, Gopal's quest, initiated without his slightest understanding, to get laid before he returns to India. "No thank you, sir," Gopal declines."I'm vegetarian." And when he returns to his cousin unscathed (and unlaid), he says, "I met friendly man selling vegetarian cats."
Randy on a mission to get Gopal laid, fails miserably each and every-time. This is kind of a book, surely makes you wonder, why the hell didn't I try going to US. The book is a good time killer and leaves you with a rather, cool note. A great travel read or a weekend stress buster. I do recommend it.
The other book I read was out of total curiosity, a book which I picked up just because it was something to do with IIM and business schools. Turns out, it had a completely contrasting nature. Samrat, a young American born with a Indian origin working at Wall-street, (Not quiet a story now, because of the financial crisis. This is sometime when there was no crisis) gets increasing frustrated with his monotonous life and wants some change. He comes back to India and enrolls in IIM-Banglore for doing his MBA.
His Indian experience is very nicely explained. Coming from US, Samrat, meets his fellow students at IIM, Sarkar(a guy from IITs mindbogglingly brilliant but a marijuana addict) and Vinod (ex-Indian army solider). The author gives us a birds-eye view of how things are go around in the IIMs.
Samrat comes to India, in search of happiness, but he just finds the gruelling IIM schedules. He gets a interim with one of the top companies and loves completing it. With Sarkar, he goes for a 10 day soul stirring experience in a yoga session at the Himalayas. After 2 years of Indian experience, he finds his happiness in a less dramatic job. A frugal salary, not a demanding life style.
Does Samrat find what he is looking for? Very cool book for casual reading!! Keep off the Grass here means nothing but marijuana. But marijuana does play a vital role in the story line!! :) Ruskin Bond, does tell you a a thing or two. I enjoyed every bit of it!! After all this reading, I could not sit home reading, so I planned to take a drive for a sandwich. I ordered a sandwich and was reflecting the books. As I was thinking, I was eyeing my bike which was parked on the other side of the road. Just lost in my thoughts.
The sandwich wala came out and asked me, do you want to have it here or take it as parcel. I said, I will have it. As I was having it, I still reflected the book. As I finished it, I asked the guy for a tissue paper. The guy replied-"Tissue paper tho nehi hai saab, yeh Indian paper he hai" and trusted me a old newspaper. Then I felt, wherever I go, India and the Indianess in me, will never change!!