Goodreads blurb: Moving back to India was the last thing on Amol Dixit’s mind when he was leading a carefree life in Chicago. Then one day, he found himself sleeping on the streets of Mumbai.
Now, Returned to India is a Back-to-Rags story of a Non Resident Indian (NRI), and is a humorous account of the experiences of Amol Dixit, who relocates to India in haste. It all begins when he interviews for a job that he doesn’t really need, and then plans to spend a year with his family in India before heading back to North America. In a series of missteps which affect his social and work life, and cost him the woman he loved, Amol learns the hard way that living in India is no cakewalk. In spite of these challenges, he decides to stay back in India. And just when his life has hit rock bottom, GB enters his life.
Now, Returned to India was shortlisted by DNA- Hachette in India for their “Hunt for the Next Bestseller” competition in 2014. This is the first book in the four part series by author Amar Vyas. Amar’s own blog which dealt with his return to India journey received nearly 120,000 views on the Return to India Forum.
The book begins with Amol Dixit on his flight back to India on a planned one year sabbatical to spend some time with his ageing parents and take a break from his hectic work at Chicago. However, things don’t quite as planned and his homecoming is not quite as smooth and problem-free as he anticipated. In fact things go horribly wrong as far as his choice of employer, role and a few other things go. One thing leads to another and suddenly he is left with no social life, no fiancée and no job satisfaction to speak of.
What happens later, and does Amol manage to get back all that he loses back in India is what the crux of the novel is made up of. In a nutshell, this book is a chronicle of a NRI who returns to India and yearns for all that he left behind when he left for foreign shores some years ago.
While the book is quite a decent read, the only problem I had with it was the lack of an overarching narrative arc around which the entire book would be structured around. While the author tries to use ‘homecoming’ as the one theme around which the narrative would revolve around, I personally found the book flitting between too many things such as a jobs in India, the car-buying experience in India, the bride-hunting escapades of the author and various other unrelated things. To me, the entire book read like a series of blog posts read at random rather than a coherent whole novel, and that to some extent, diluted the entire experience for me.
That being said, the book does read quite easy and is quite breezy to read. Marring a few editorial mistakes and misspellings, the book is a competent attempt.
Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was offered to me by the author in return for a honest and unbiased review.