White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Incredible Americans

Crossover literature, or that of the Indian diaspora scattered all over the US has been done to death. This is probably why I was apprehensive about "Inscrutable Americans". Nevertheless, it was authored by Anurag Mathur in 1991, whose hilarious "Making the Minister Smile" had made me more than smile when I read it, and if anything, "Inscrutable Americans" was one of the few books to probably start the genre anyway.

The initial pages didn't help in allaying my fears. I found it too corny to be funny. True, the story revolves around Gopal, who is after all from a small town called Jajau, known as the "Paris of MP", and his reactions to America forcing itself on him culturally, would elicit a different reaction than a product of a bigger city like me. And this is acknowledged by Mathur through Gopal's distant cousins, who hail from Bombay. Having said that, I would be lying if I said that nostalgia didn't make passes at me and take me back to my first year in the US as a freshman on a college campus - 2002 in Atlanta.

Gopal is relatable to since he is the quintessential horny desi Engineering nerd (the phrase is probably a redundancy), using his brains to come up with innovative ideas of reaching out to women, and yet, when the opportunity presents itself on multiple occassions, there is a lack of courage to ride on. Randy, Gopal's host (read partner-in-crime) is a stereotypical American young man most of the time, who warms up to Gopal instantly and makes it his ambition to get Gopal laid. There is also a range of other American characters, some colorful like the Peacock, some bland like the Dean, some polite, some rude, but all of them very interesting.

Mathur uses Gopal's letters to his brother in rustic Indian English wonderfully to show his character arc. As the story unfolded, I started falling in love with the book, with the pace rising to a climactic crescendo as the last few pages go by in a whiz, much like Gopal's reactions towards the new country. What starts out as a series of slapstick events slowly turns into mature introspection and more importantly, a very honest comparison between the two countries. This book is a must read for any Indian who has studied in the US.


dreamy said...

Theme wise, I've always felt that these two books are exactly the opposite of each other, which make them all the more interesting.

ArSENik said...

Why do you feel the themes are opposite? I read "Making the Minister Smile" ages ago and so, can't remember any opposing points. Please enlighten me.

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