Author – Kunal Nayyar
Of all the charming misfits on television, there’s no doubt Raj from The Big Bang Theory — the sincere yet incurably geeky Indian-American astrophysicist — ranks among the misfittingest. Now, we meet the actor who is every bit as loveable as the character he plays on TV. In this revealing collection of essays written in his irreverent, hilarious, and self-deprecating voice, Kunal Nayyar traces his journey from a little boy in New Delhi who mistakes an awkward first kiss for a sacred commitment, gets nosebleeds chugging Coca-Cola to impress other students, and excels in the sport of badminton, to the confident, successful actor on the set of TV’s most-watched sitcom since Friends.
Going behind the scenes of The Big Bang Theory and into his personal experiences, Kunal introduces readers to the people who helped him grow, such as his James Bond-loving, mustachioed father who taught him the most important lessons in life: Treat a beggar as you would a king. There are two sides to every story. A smile goes a long way. And, when in doubt, use a spreadsheet. Kunal also walks us through his college years in Portland, where he takes his first sips of alcohol and learns to let loose with his French, 6’8” gentle-giant roommate, works his first-ever job for the university’s housekeeping department cleaning toilets for minimum wage, and begins a series of romantic exploits that go just about as well as they would for Raj. (That is, until he meets and marries a former Miss India in an elaborate seven-day event that we get to experience in a chapter titled “My Big Fat Indian Wedding.”)
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.
My thoughts –
When Bharti from Simon & Schuster India contacted me for review of this book I instantly said yes (inspite of the fact that I have slowed down on accepting books for review). I have watched quite a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory and after Sheldon, Raj is my next favourite character (I like Howard, Leonard & Penny too!) and so when I was offered a copy of this book I could not say no. Also, the cover of the book looked amazing to me – Kunal in a blue suit wearing a pair of mojris with intricate work, thus showing the perfect blend of India & America. And I am very glad I said yes to this one!
I was hooked to the book from the ‘Preface’ of the book itself where he starts with, “This is not a memoir. I’m not a president, or an astronaut, or a Kardashian. This is a collection of stories from my life”. True enough, this book is not a memoir, he is young & yet to achieve much more in life but he definitely has had an interesting life with lots of ups and downs to reach where he is today. And the way he recollects these ups and downs with the right amount of humour, philosophy, tales of friendship & love, is what makes it an interesting read.
In this book, Kunal presents himself to be that normal guy (and not some larger than life celebrity) with his own set of strengths & weaknesses. In one of the chapters, he shares how his father had given him some very important life lessons which will inspire many of us too. The balancing act of his life in Los Angeles and yet keeping in touch with his roots is what impressed me quite a bit. All the while I was reading, I was grinning, giggling or nodding my head in agreement & even got emotional in a few instances.
The highlights of the book for me were – his poem, Always Joy, his ssssssss moment, Dinners with Dad & the Thoughts Recorded on an Aeroplane Cocktail Napkin.
A few snippets from the book I loved –
Final Words –
An honest, funny and endearing read, which has the clear message that, if you work hard enough & be positive, you will reach where you want to be.
- The book was sent to me by Simon & Schuster India & the opinions expressed here are my own and unbiased.
- Blurb has been taken from Goodreads
- Images clicked by me.
- This review is linked to my Indian Quills Challenge, 2015 target & Goodreads Reading Challenge, 2015.