We all have grown up with umpteen references to the US as a country which is everything that India is not. It is plush, glamorous and of all the things, full of freedom! Indians of all kinds have gone to the US to pursue their dreams. Atulya Mahajan’s characters go to the US for higher studies.
Disclaimer: The book was sent to me by the author.
The two protagonists, Akhil and Jassi have secured admission in Florida State University ‘s Masters in Science programme. While Akhil is a no-nonsense, obedient and sincere boy who takes this as his chance to fulfil his dreams, for Jassi, Amreeka is the land where his sex fantasies may finally come true.
What follows is their tale of reaching Amreeka, knowing Amreeka, making friends with Amreeka and achieving their respective dreams in Amreeka.
Honestly, I don’t read any book which is paperback. Off from a heavy academic degree, I am not allowed to touch anything which is not boring and is not written by an International Relations theorist. If you really throw caution out of window and go ahead and judge this book by its cover, it is paperback and fun. The book appealed to me as a 23 years old, who herself is caught in the dilemma of to get or not get a fancy US PhD. What was really comforting was the story of Akhil Arora, the serious of the two protagonists. Here the hero is no cent percentile holder. He is an average guy with only hard work on his side and is not ready to settle for gains which other might laud but he knows are frivolous. Mind you, he turns down a job at Google.
That’s what it takes to have a happy life in real terms. Our generation which posts picture of every little achievement on Facebook out of insecurity, needs to pick up this book to realize that getting a coveted seat in a top college makes you happy only because you know many people could not make it and you did it. If you take it as a symbol of your arrival, go get a life first.
The book is a natural progression unlike most fiction churned out these days, where sex+college+heart-break and a sensational title are expected to launch you into the fiction market successfully. There are heart-breaks here too but Jassi changes for better and the risk-averse Akhil takes a huge risk. The feelings are not artificial, no graphic details of sex. No forced fed romance and yet it captivates you because Atulya succeeds in making you identify with at least one of the protagonist.
The book can also serve as a helpful guide for Amreeka hopefuls out there because the author has given a detailed account of his own experiences in the book.
If US is everything that India is not then this book is everything that Hollywood movies don’t tell you about Amreeka.