Desi in Love

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Karan Puri’s debut novel doesn’t break stereotypes but is heartfelt and honest, says Sahil Farooqi

American masala Karan Puri
American masala: Karan Puri, Photo: Garima Jain
Shit Happens! Desi Boy In America Karan Puri  Prakash Books  160 pp; Rs 125
Shit Happens! Desi Boy In America Karan Puri Prakash Books 160 pp; Rs 125

TO USE toilet paper or not. This is one of the main questions that Karan Puri tries to answer in his debut novel. Super nerd Anurag doesn’t have much going for him except good grades, but he does get to go to the University of Rochester on a full scholarship. After saying goodbye to his highly stereotypical relatives, his world begins to change right from the American airport he lands in — first, the funny defeat of toilet paper instead of water, then the challenge of speaking to blonde bombshells. In New York, he falls in love with another student on his first day at college. Which is fortunate, since she ends up taking his virginity as well (though by accident). Anurag’s new American roommate enters the picture as the girl’s love — and soon we’re in the thick of a full-eared Bollywood-masala love triangle.

This is a favourite literary subject today, but what makes Puri’s work different is that it’s sincere and heartfelt. The author’s bio coincides with his plot, which is perhaps why the book sometimes feels too full of detailed inner thoughts. In our cross-pollinated world,Shit Happens! is another example of how cultural alienation can only hinder you and how travel remains a viable antidote.

Farooqi is a performance artist whose current solo show is A Brown Monkey Goes To McDonald’s

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