Let me admit this - the book has been on the stands for over 6 months now. I bought it too right on time. However, the cover (rather dull and a tad way too sober), the title (which just went on and on without hinting much about what it wanted to convey) and sheer laziness of going through the first chapter made me procrastinate the affair rather endlessly.
Until a three hour flight that I took made this Kunal Nayyar book my companion.
I read through the first chapter, and then the second and then the third, until I knew that I couldn't let this one go even when the in-flight good arrived.
'Yes, This Book Is Real', and this is what makes it special.
Those familiar with the super hit US show 'The Big Bang Theory' would be familiar with the character Raj Koothrappali. It is played by Delhi's Punjabi boy Kunal Nayyar, who recently turned 35 over the weekend gone by. I for sure hadn't watched the show, a long running one at that, though I was a tad familiar with his work, courtesy Vinay Virmani's film Dr. Cabbie which had none less than Salman Khan backing it. Kunal played an integral part in the film and also romanced Katrina Kaif's sister Isabelle Kaif.
Well, it is not 'that Kunal' who is introduced in the book. Instead, the man talks about the time from his childhood to the time he bagged 'The Big Bang Theory' and then got married to a Miss India no less. Wondering if you would be able to relate to the book if you haven't watched his work? Oh yes, you would for sure since Kunal keeps it all real, hence making you totally follow the life that he has lived and the journey that took him from India to the US to the various studios and then eventually in front of the camera. However, more than anything else, this is a humane story and that's what connects you the most.
What impresses most about this 250 odd page book is the fact that it is made of short chapters that don't really follow any linear order, which otherwise usually becomes way too boring when someone begins to talk about his origins and then eventually concludes with the future that awaits him. Instead, Kunal brings on countless anecdotes from his life which makes this book a light read that is funny for most part of it.
So whether it is his first crush to his first kiss to the time that he spent as a janitor to the point where he was waiting tables to the humiliation that he faced during his audition to the advice that he got from his seniors to the roommate that he indeed love the most to a girlfriend who turned out to be a lesbian to the many victories that he scored (or failed) to the badminton championships that he won to the dates that turned out to be disasters to the friends who came in and out of his life to the waiting period that he suffered after his auditions to many other escapades that he enjoyed - Kunal says it all with a smile.
What does stand out though is the love that he shares for his dad. Though he doesn't go on the rooftop and announces 'My Dad My Hero', you can pretty much sense after every 20 odd pages that he is someone who has grown up on his father's principles. Moreover, you do believe in the clichÃ© of 'You can take an Indian out of India but not the India out of an Indian' when Kunal gives more than a subtle hint of various such situations in his life when culture and tradition have subconsciously played a role.
Of course, he is witty in narrating many such instances when he questions the manner in which Indians behave, act and react at times. However, none of that is ever offensive and that's something truly charming about this sweet book that has you in smiles for a good part of it (and an occasional big time chuckle too, as my fellow passenger in the flight would vouch for, who did ask me eventually what this book was all about. Guess he was impressed as he knew about 'The Big Bang Theory', and hence Kunal as well).
That said, you may want to pick up this book, regardless of whether you are aware of the show and its man, or not. It would make for a good companion on a journey to somewhere.
Price: Rs. 375/=
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