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By Atulya Mahajan. Grade A
Amreekandesi is a satire on the lives of all those star-eyed Indians who dream of leaving their country and making it big in ‘Amreeka’.
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.
This story revolves around a Punjabi boy who wants to go to the country ‘where dreams come true’ aka America, for pursuing higher studies. The author has creatively and accurately portrayed the difficulties he faces to convince Mommy Dearest to let him go and then the ones that arise once he reaches there. It reveals how he and his other FOB (fresh off the boat) mates survive in the land where a small cup of coffee comes for 280 rupees but furniture is free. They learn to endure everything that life and America have in store for them. From heartbreaks to racial comments to a lot of firsts (beer, girls, arrests, and bikinis), they live it all. The book takes an interesting turn when the love of his life becomes a living zombie (no, no supernatural elements!) and ignores the crap out him.
An important character in the book ‘Jassi’ (or ‘Jassminator’ as he likes to call himself) has embarked on the ‘Amreekan’ journey to meet his beloved Pamelaji (Pamela Anderson). And despite the Anil Kapoor mop of hair on his chest and the body structure of a baby Gorilla, he is dead sure of the fact that girls can’t resist his charm and find him irresistible.
A lot of us can relate to it; most of us have wanted to break free from the clutches of our parents at some point in our lives and when it eventually happens, we regret it. The humour quotient is excellent, and would leave the reader in splits at the humorous Indian oddities we find so hard to let go.
“The place was deserted, but suddenly I saw a tall, strong built man jogging towards me. As he passed me, he waved and said “Hello, how are you doing?”
Strangely, he did not even stop to hear my answer.
Now Akhil, if a nice man asks a question, I can’t be rude and not answer. So I ran behind him. I managed to catch up, shook his hand, said “Hi, I’m doing fine, thank you for asking.”
You can take the Indian out of India, but not India out of the Indian.
“The puja commenced at 7pm and the girls took over. The only problem was that no one knew the entire Laxmi Aarti by heart. Luckily, Google did, and the puja was performed with the twenty odd Indian Heads bowed in reverence as Anoop Jalota sang praises of Goddess Laxmi on YouTube.”
Amreekandesi uncorks day to day happenings of life that we are now used to, but when pointed out will leave us astounded and with a wide grin on our faces. The fact that people in America are unaware of the concept of ‘missed call’ left me wondering of all the other things that we do differently.
This one is a must read for all those who enjoy clever allegory and a good laugh.