Wednesday, October 5th, 2022 12:25:51

An Endearing Piece Of Writing

Updated: June 29, 2015 3:19 pm

The aptly titled debut novel is a simple yet elegantly written story about a graduate student who dreams about moving to America to pursue a higher education and finds herself in an environment that is not only diverse but also different from the world she grew up in.

Manasvi is an average middle-class young woman, moving to a different country for an education wasn’t as easy as packing two suitcases and flying off to college. Never having lived away from home, starting a life from scratch in America was adventurous, sometimes scary and hilarious.

Without a handbook to help her navigate the complex and diverse new world, Manasvi has to acquire new skills and unlearn old thought patterns. She has to deal with narrow-minded people giving her bad advice and poisoning her mind about minorities in America. The lack of public transportation in Mississippi lands her in some scary situations when she tries to explore her small town by foot.

Money plays an important role in the life of a student and Manasvi discovers the pros and cons of being a foreigner in America. As she builds her support system in America she encounters Southern Baptists who are very friendly to her but criticise her Hindu religion.

The fast-paced story deals with almost every aspect of a foreign student’s life—dreaming big, friendships, dating between students of different nationalities/ethnicity, religion, family values, discrimination based not on caste but on skin colour.

Storytelling is intelligent, polished, uni-que and very easy to read. A must-read for any student aspiring to go to America for higher education. For a person who may never be able to go to America, this novel is a way to experience the student life in America.

Every chapter is packed with intricate details of how Manasvi works towards her aspirations even during the darkest of times. Everybody talks about the beginning of a new life after college, but before Manasvi can embrace the new life, she had to learn to let go of her old life. The character Vikram represents the old definition of a friend and the characters Amar and Nathan represent the new meaning of a friend.

The novel also offers a glimpse into the competitive world of Information Technology. Is the success or failure of a student determined by the merit and education of the student or based on influential contacts? This novel also offers a glimpse into the American immigration system which controls the life of an immigrant in more ways than one. The students are not familiar with the details of the law, but they learn from their peers and hope the colleges and other institutions help them along the way, but do they really?

The novel superbly conveys the textures of both India and America with such vividness that it strikes the reader as real experiences. Every reader will be able to identify with one or more characters in the novel and will be transported to their own experiences from childhood and college days.

The transliterations in Kannada in the first few chapters rendered the story a bit colloquial and it is hard to tell if a non-Kannadiga can understand some of the words. However, the glossary at the end of the book is very descriptive and informative. It is meant to portray a world in which English is often mixed with other languages. It is a way of bonding and creating social circles.

By S A Hemantha Kumar

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