Length: 272 pages
My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Kunal Nayyar plays Rajesh Koothrapalli on TV’s The Big Bang Theory. This book takes a look at the man who brings Raj to life and the journey that led him to the role.
Normally, there isn’t much that you can synopsize about a memoir/autobiography. But, in this case, I’m going to share an excerpt from the book blurb. And that goes something like this, “Full of heart, but never taking itself too seriously, this witty and often inspiring collection of underdog tales follows a young man as he traverses two continents in search of a dream, along the way transcending culture and language (and many, many embarrassing incidents) to somehow miraculously land the role of a lifetime”.
A book blurb is meant to give you an insight into the book. It’s also meant to entice you into buying and reading the book, but primarily to tell you what to expect. Now, I like Raj and I think Kunal Nayyar plays the role near-exceptionally. And when I heard of the book, I was definitely intrigued. Like any regular reader, I read the blurb – and the damn thing suckered me into reading 272 pages of ordinariness.
At the end of it, I felt betrayed by the blurb – like it lied to me. Because the book isn’t really witty, save for a few parts, isn’t exactly inspiring and definitely isn’t the story of an underdog. What it is, instead, is a story of a guy who went from India to U.S.A and had some mishaps while trying to fit in.
I think that can happen to people who move from one city to another too. I’ve gone abroad and yes, it is difficult, but it isn’t underdog-y. There are very times that you’ll find yourself laughing out loud. Those are the times that the book is hilarious, but if I was forced to recollect, I’d say that that happened five times. A few times, maybe fifteen, you smile. The rest, you read with a straight face and straight emotions.
The experiences he’s shared come across as too filmy and exaggerated or like they are experiences that anyone can have. Now ‘anyone’ won’t write a book about them – they’d barely make a note in their Dear Diary – but Kunal did. And as a result, you have a memoir that doesn’t truly inspire.
Mary Kom and Milkha Singh’s stories are inspiring. They had the real underdog stories where they fought against unbelievable circumstances, grief, obstacles and prejudice to rise to the top. Kunal’s stories have lessons in them, but they are morals you would learn all on your own, as you live your own, regular life.
And that is why I found the blurb to be a bit of a lie.
But that doesn’t meant that the book was bad altogether. The laugh-out-loud moments were really good. It’s also been written blatantly in most places – right from the heart. And that comes through, making it quite touching in places and warm in others. You get to see the man behind the character and his emotions and principles which I found admirable. That is the only reason it reached 2.5 stars.
All in all, the book was an average read. I could have gone without reading it, but don’t think I lost too much by spending a few days on it either. It could have been shorter – there was a point where I just wanted to be ‘done with it already’ – which, I think, would have increased its appeal.
You shouldn’t bother reading it if you’re looking for an exceptionally inspiring tale. The people who will really enjoy it are the die-hard fans of Rajesh Koothrapalli and The Big Bang Theory. So, if that’s you, jump right into it!
In conclusion, I would like to add that not all weddings are as elaborate as Kunal Nayyar’s. I should know, I got married six months ago. And my husband did not get on a horse – that is actually an option which most men, today, choose not to exercise.