By Rohini Mohan
Sunil Lala is a self published NRI author. American Khichdi is a collection of his musings in which he explores the life of the Desi who lives in America. From our obsession for Bollywood to our double standards when it comes to accepting our adopted culture, from the birth of an ABCD to the shock of the death of a loved one in a strange land, from life in India to the Khichdi that life is outside India; the book waxes eloquent on each of these varied topics. Talk about niche marketing – the book is aimed at the average NRI Joe who moved here and lives a life that is a strange mix of Indian Middle Class Morality and American Coolness. The writing style is easy and conversational, and the language is peppered with the occasional Hindi phrase; the Indian habit of lapsing into the vernacular at will which we are all guilty of. It attempts to unveil the Desi approach to life in a foreign country; do we integrate seamlessly or do we leave a trail of Little Indias in our wake? American Khichdi can be best described as a set of short articles about the many quirks and peculiarities that we Desis are famous for. Some of the observations are quite astute and hit the nail on the head. Some good food for thought in there. There is an attempt at wit throughout, and in many instances the examples can be quite amusing. The book does not hesitate to bash the Des and the Desi though, which sometimes can get slightly scathing – could have been avoided to an extent, I felt. All in all a pretty interesting read. It is not something that can be or needs to be read all at one go. You can pull it out for some quick timepass at the doctor’s office or while waiting for your son at the soccer game. What I liked best about it is the fact that it gives us the opportunity to laugh at ourselves a little bit. We are certainly stiff upper lip as a race and if I were to pick one single admirable trait in the American nature, it is their ability to joke about everything including and especially themselves. If the book can help us lighten up a little in true American tradition, it is well worth a read. Sunil Lala is an engineer by qualification and an IT consultant by profession. He is into screenwriting and film making. He also contributes online to the Hindustan Times. American Khichdi is available through online retailers like Amazon, Target and Borders. Sunil can be contacted through his website.