Inscrutable Americans

26 03 2008

“Dear brother,

greetings to respectful parents. I am hoping all is well with health and wealth. I am fine at my end. Hoping your end is fine too. With God’s grace and parents’ blessings I am arriving safely in America and finding good apartment near University. Kindly assure mother that I am strictly consuming vegetarian food only in restaurants though I am not knowing if cooks are Brahmins. I hope parents’ prayers are residing with me.

Younger brother, I am having so many things to tell you that I am not knowing where to start. Most surprising thing about America is it is full of Americans. Everywhere Americans, Americans, big and white, it is little frightening. The flight from New Delhi to New York is arriving safely thanks to God’s grace and Parents’ prayers and mine too. I am not able to go to bathroom whole time because I am sitting in corner seat as per revered grandmother’s wish. Father is rightly scolding that airplane is flying too high to have good view. Still please tell her I have done needful.

But, brother, in next two seats are sitting two old gentle ladies and if I am getting up then they are put in lot of botheration so I am not getting up for except when plane is stopping for one hour in London. Many foods are being served in carts but I am only eating cashew nuts and bread because I am not knowing what is food and what is meat. I am having a good time drinking 37 glasses of Coca-Cola.

They are rolling down a screen and showing a film but I am not listening because air hostess ladies are selling head phones for 2 dollars which is Rs.60 and in our beloved Jajau town we can sit in balcony seats in Regal Talkies for only Rs.3. I am asking lady if they are giving student discount but she is too busy. I am also asking her for more Coca-Cola but she is looking like she is weeping and walking away. I think perhaps she is not understanding proper English.

Next I go to place marked ” Baggage” as Father has advised and suddenly place I am sitting starts to move throwing me. It is like python we once saw in forest, only rattling and with luggage bouncing on its back and sometimes leaping to attack passengers. I am also throwing myself on bag before it is escaping. I think if I am not wrestling it down it would revert to plane and back home to India. I am only joking of course.

At Customs, brother, I am getting big shock. One fat man is grunting at me and looking cleverly from small eyes. “First visit?” he is asking, “Yes,” I am agreeing “Move on,” he is saying making chalk marks on bags. As I am picking up bags he is looking directly at me and saying “Watch your ass.” Now, brother, this is wonderful. How he is knowing we are purchasing donkey? I think they are knowing everything about everybody who is coming to America.

But, brother, now I am worrying. Supposing this is CIA keeping watch or else how they can know about our donkey? Anyway please do not tell Mother and Father or they are worrying, but lock all doors and windows. If CIA wants to recruit me to be spy in Jajau, I will gladly take poison before betraying our Motherland. Then I am going out and cousins are waiting and receiving me warmly. I will write soon after settling down.

Your brother”

Guess the above excerpt from the book says it all. This book is truly hilarious! I can still remember the quizzical looks that I garnered in the train by laughing my heart out while reading this book. It seriously made me think, why did I took so much time to discover this book! 🙂 Anurag Mathur beautifully highlights the cultural differences between the East and West through the experiments of Gopal who goes to America for study purposes from a small town in India. Guess every Indian can identify with the innocence of the country bumpkin that Gopal effortlessly carries. With a dash of humor and a pepper of satire, Anurag Mathur really tickles your heart and thought. I must say that its a must read! If this doesn’t make you laugh in splits, I don’t know what would ever will manage!



6 responses

11 04 2008
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9 06 2008

SOme friend had send the exact excerpt as a forward which mede me read the full book. I loved it, Its those one of the few books which actually show America and its culture in a good light. It tells a lot of serious things in a hillarious way. A must read indeeed.

10 06 2008

@ prajwalpai
Agreed. I loved the style and tone of the book. 🙂

12 07 2008

totally agree with all…awesome piece.
I really dont read books , had to sit with a dictionary all time round..
Anurag should now come up with a sequel ” Gopal in Australia”…lol

13 07 2008

@ Gaurav
I would love to catch the sequel too… Anurag did a great job of bring out the innocence of Gopal well. 🙂

15 07 2009
Vishal Bhardwaj (vicky_dceian)

I have jst strted, even frm the very begining it never made me to stop in between and really hard to take breaks. easy going, humoros, typical culture diff and would made you smile every second. It Shows up finest way to interpret indian character in America. Over all loved the Gopal lingo and randy’z casual behavior.

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