“Life has a plan for each of us; we may not understand the whys on our journey but every event is meaningful nonetheless.”
― Ken Poirot
In this age, when words like skepticism and cynicism rule the world, it is a heartening experience to come across a story as simple and effortless as the Guy on the Sidewalk by Bharath Krishna. Right from the cover of the book till the end of the story, you can feel the eternal conflict which an Indian professional living in the USA encounters on a regular basis!
Guy on the Sidewalk is the story of Jay – his journey from India to the USA and again back to India. The story starts with his last day in the USA and the varied emotions he has been experiencing. It then goes to a flashback and gives a vivid account of Jay’s laid back college life, tiring MBA days and his brief professional life, all in India. That is when he travels to the USA to pursue a specialization. From hereon, he depicts the various phases through which he passes, before realizing his actual call of coming back to where he belongs – India.
The narrative of the story is spontaneous and at times you can actually feel the Déjà vu. I stay in Austin and Jay’s American journey starts at Austin. Therefore, for me the level of familiarity was quite intriguing. The story talks about the economic, social and educational aspects of the country. His American journey goes through quite a number of ups and downs . The recession and not getting funded for his higher studies were the main drawbacks while finding like-minded people who helped him through his rough times was something to remember for a lifetime.
There are comparisons between India and the USA throughout the story and they have been dealt in a very mature and witty manner. Each and every country has their pros and cons and Guy on the Sidewalk actually pens them in a fine way without being judgmental. The humor and the free flowing style of storytelling make the book worth reading.
There are some aspects I wish were handled better. There were times when I felt things were happening suddenly which led to the abrupt ending of the earlier phase. Jay went to the USA to study but after a couple of months realized that he is learning nothing new. Then all of a sudden he left his studies and joined the coveted IT bandwagon. The problems he faced were eventually depicted but I was not able to connect with that sudden decision.
Guy on the Sidewalk can be referred as a ‘complete package’! Feelings like happiness, loneliness, confusion, frustration all form an integral part of the journey towards self discovery. Romance and friendship form the major crux of the story and you can instantly relate with their roles. One can ask, after reading the story, that no concrete reason has been cited for Jay coming back to India. My question would be do we always need a reason to come back to our motherland. I feel there can be times when the call of conscience becomes loud enough to enjoy preference over the materialistic luxuries of life.
If you are in search of a book which will make you part of the story, will incorporate a sense of patriotism without being preachy and will give you a fair account of both India and the USA, then definitely get hold of Guy on the Sidewalk by Bharath Krishna.
P.S.- Thanks a lot Bharath Krishna for the copy of the book. It made for a delightful read.