Book Review of Amreekan Desi: Masters of America
Let us go to FSU as FOBs with Amreekan Desi: Masters of America, the debut novel by Atulya Mahajan, who has penned some of his own experiences as a FOB (fresh off boat), student in Florida State University.The novel is a very simple story cum myth buster about a lot of rosy pictures that one may have about Amreeka or America.
The books seems to target NRIs and wanna be geeks drenched in wet dreams about bikini clad blondes basking in autumn sun on beaches in US. One such guy is Jaspreet or Jassi or Jazzminator who thinks he is god’s gift to not just women but for no less than Baywatch babe Pamela jee. But the main protagonist is Delhi boy Akhil Arora, who missed the bus to IIT and thus to be one up on them, he wants to acquire the halo of an American post graduate degree.
By a twist of fate our Jazzy boy and Akhil land up as roommates in Florida, and thus start a series of funny incidents, that form the backbone of the story. There is no serious plot except for Jassi’s quest for Pamela jee and Akhil trying to make it big in the geeky world.
But early in the plot our good boy from Delhi who has never had a true girlfriend meets the heroine in form of Nandita a Bengali girl travelling to guess where? FSU. From here things are more or less predictable, yet enjoyable.
Jassi keeps on bungling with one girl after another, but in true “I will be back” style of Jazzminator he continues to try, recovering each time with renewed vigor and wisdom from failure.
As the incidents unfolds, you also learn about the process of admissions to US universities, and some chapters are almost like a handbook for people trying to go to US on a student visa. The parts where the authors shine are where he talks about the struggle of second generation American Indians or ABCDs (American Born Confused Desi). He also does a good job in taking the love story of Akhil forward slowly but steadily, till the twist in plot like all true desi love stories. But to culminate the story he goes to Bollywood lengths and one is reminded of Govinda in Hero No1.( Please note I am a big fan of Govinda and I say this in most positive sense)
I read Amreekan Desi, while travelling by train and completed the book in one go, and I think therein lies the success of Atulya Mahajan, to keep the reader engaged in a simple, funny and enjoyable tale. At no point of time he loses track of what he actually wants to convey to the readers and successfully conveys the message that getting in US universities is not even half as tough as successfully completing your Masters. Somewhere in the middle you start getting the message that behind all the fun and masti, there is a serious attempt to be successful and it takes a lot of hard work to succeed in US universities that attract the best of the best from around the world. Though the characters are not deep, you don’t miss the depth as the aim of the book is to entertain which it succeeds in.
Amreekan Desi is a good book for anybody looking for a light read based on some personal observations by the author while he studied in Florida State University. Though I did not studied in US , I have been there more times than I can remember, and I could relate to some of the incidents mentioned in the book like the road trip, desi boys drooling over well you know…
Note: I received a review copy by author Autlya Mahajan, who also writes popular blog Amreekan desi. The views expressed are entirely my own.
Author: Atulya Mahajan
Publisher: Random House India
Available at: Amazon book store
Price: 199 INR for paperback and INR 104 for Kindle edition on Amazon
Other Book Reviews on desi Traveler
- The Reckless Engineer
- High Tea Across India
- The Bankster
- Business Sutra
- The Vision of Angels
- I take this train too
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