Sunday, 7 October, 2007

The Inscrutable Americans

The Inscrutable Americans is a bestselling novel by an Indian author, Anurag Mathur. It is about the experiences of a 'subcontinental bumpkin' in America. Humorous in intention, it concentrates on the mishaps and misadventures of a village Indian in the USA, and many true observations which are humorously told.

Front Pages
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10

The Inscrutable Americans

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 sart. 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

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 townwe 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.

Then I am sleeping long time after London and when I am waking it is
like we are flying over sea of lights. Everywhere, brother, as far as I
am seeing there are lights lights. It is like God has made carpet of
lights. Then we are landing in New York and plane is going right upto
door so that we are not having to walk in cold. I must say Americans are
very advanced. And as I am leaving aeroplane, air hostess is giving me
one more can of Coca-Cola. Her two friends are also with her, but why
they are laughing so much I do not know. I think these Americans are
strange but friendly people in their hearts. I hope she was not laughing
for racial. Perhaps she was feeling shy earlier.

Then I am going to long bathroom. As I am leaving I am making first
friend in America. This is Negro gentleman named Joe who is standing at
door and as I am opening it he is holding out hand so I am shaking it
and telling him my name and he is tellng me his. I am telling him if he
is ever coming to Jajau he can ask for National Hair Oil Factory. If I
have not returned from Higher Studies please tell father that if negro
gentleman named Joe is visiting Jajau he may kindly do needful.

In this way I feel each and every one of us is serving as Ambassador of
our beloved Motherland. Joe is doubtful I feel because he says "Far out,
man, far out", but I am reassuring him that India is only 16 hours away
by plane and that is not very far. I think he is accepting this because
he is not saying anything any more.

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.
Before this I am meeting very friendly gentleman at Immigration desk. I
do not know why all relatives had warned against this man, bacause he is
so friendly. He is talking English strangely but is having kind heart
because he is asking me about nuts and I am saying that I am liking very
much and eating many on plane. "Totally, totally nutss," he is saying,
which I feel American expression for someone fond of cashewnuts. Before
this he is showing friendliness by asking "How is it going?" I am telling
his fully and frankly about all problems and hopes, even though you may
feel that as American he may be too selfish to bother about decline in
price of hair oil in Jajau town. But, brother, he is listening very
quietely with eyes on me for ten minutes and then we are having friendly
talk about nuts and he is wanting me to go.

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.

They are not allowing anybody without knowing his family and financial
status and other things. And we are only buying donkey two days before
my departure. I think they are keeping all information in computers.
Really these Americans are too advanced.

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,

---------------------------------------------- end of letter

Saturday, 15 September, 2007

Five Point Someone - What not to do at IIT!!!

Five Point Someone - What not to do at IIT! is the first (2004) novel written by Chetan Bhagat, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad. It is one of the highest selling English novels published in India, and has remained on the bestseller list until 2007 since its release in 2004. It was adapted into a play by the theatre group Madras Players, and may be converted to a bollywood movie soon.

The novel is set in the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, in the period 1991 to 1995. It is about the adventures of three mechanical engineering students (and friends), Hari Kumar (the narrator), Ryan Oberoi, and Alok Gupta, who fail to cope with the cruel grading system of the IITs and come to be known as five pointers due to their perennially low 5.something GPA's.

The book is narrated in the first person by Hari, with some small passages by his friends Ryan and Alok, as well as a letter by Hari's girlfriend Neha Cherian. It deals with the lives of the three friends whose elation on making it to one of the best engineering colleges in India is quickly deflated by the rigor and monotony of academic work. Most of the book deals with the numerous attempts by the trio to cope with and/or beat the system as well as Hari's fling with Neha who just happens to be the daughter of Prof. Cherian, the sadistic head of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

While the tone of the novel is humorous, it takes some dark turns every now and then, especially when it comes to the families of the main characters. Most of the action, however, takes place inside the campus as the boys, led by the ever creative Ryan, frequently lament how the internationally lauded IIT system has stifled their creativity by forcing them to value grades more than anything else. Uninspiring teaching and numerous assignments adds to their woes although the boys do find a sympathizer in Prof. Veera, the new fluid mechanics professor.

It is rumored that a film will be made on it starring the superstar Shahrukh Khan and to be directed by Rajkumar Hirani, his third directorial venture after the Munnabhai series. He plans to make the film before the third installment of Munnabhai and hopes to start shooting by October 2007

The novel is filled with IIT lingo which is an important part of IIT life.


Acknowledgements & Prologue
Chapter 1 – Bare Beginnings
Chapter 2 – Terminator
Chapter 3 – Barefoot On Metal
Chapter 4 – Line Drawing
Chapter 5 – Make Notes Not War
Chapter 6 – Five Point Something
Chapter 7 – Alok Speaks
Chapter 8 – One Year Later
Chapter 9 – The Mice Theory
Chapter 10 – Cooperate To Dominate
Chapter 11 – The Gift
Chapter 12 – Neha Speaks
Chapter 13 – One More Year LaterChapter 14 – Vodka
Chapter 15 – Operation Pendulum
Chapter 16 – The Longest Day Of My Life 1
Chapter 17 - The Longest Day Of My Life 2
Chapter 18 - The Longest Day Of My Life 3
Chapter 19 - The Longest Day Of My Life 4
Chapter 20 - The Longest Day Of My Life 5
Chapter 21 - The Longest Day Of My Life 6
Chapter 22 – Ryan Speaks
Chapter 23 – Kaju – Burfi
Chapter 24 – Will We Make It?
Chapter 25 – A day Of Letters
Chapter 26 – Meeting Daddy
Chapter 27 – Five Point Someone


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