Whenever any relative or a friend of mine returns from a foreign country I always ask for funny incidences they must have experienced abroad. And most of them have some really amusing tales to share. But writer Gaurav Kumar has actually gone a step ahead and documented his experience living in Canada in his debut novel, Keeping Up With Kaneda. He spells Canada as Kaneda because that is what it sounds like when a lot of North Indians say it. I was excited to read this book because well, I like stories. And also because I am all ears (in this case I should say eyes) to know the first-person view of another country and culture. Of his experience studying in Canada, Kumar has written about the most absurd and hilarious encounters. Some incidences were so weird that I would feel guilty for laughing at his misery. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the book and here is what I liked the most about it.
Keeping Up With Kaneda by Gaurav Kumar
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Gaurav Kumar has completed his engineering and after hating his first job in India, he decides to gain an additional degree to help him find a better job. He picks Canada for further studies and sets out on his own to a foreign country. After living with a relative for the first few weeks, he moves out and rents a house with a few other boys. Though he is a student, he still has to earn to be able to pay rent and other bills for which he takes up all kinds of temporary job available. Canada is heavily populated with migrants and Kumar meets several foreigners who have come to the country in the hope of a brighter future. In his attempt at making some quick bucks, he comes across several weird people and often finds himself in the most absurd situations.
I LIKE Keeping Up With Kaneda Because,
it is funny and relatable. This book is not about Kumar’s life or stay in Canada but specific incidences (some funny, some scary) that left an impact on his mind. He sticks to explaining his most hilarious encounters on foreign soil. I call the story relatable because I have a friend currently living in Canada who told me how she cannot connect with the Indians living there. Just like Kumar, she too feels that the Indians in Canada have regressive mindsets. Similarly, a lot of things mentioned in the book is also what my friend experiences. So, there is no way that the writer has made up incidences as the characters in the book do exist in real life. By the end of the book, I was grinning ear to ear because I enjoyed what I read. The writing is simple and fast-paced. The people Kumar met in Canada were interesting and definitely worth writing about.
I Do NOT Like Keeping Up With Kaneda Because,
I did not understand why his journey in the book starts with him landing in Canada, then somewhere towards the end he explains how and why he decided to go to Canada, and then he returns back to narrating a weird night in Canada before concluding his story. Maybe the editor wanted it that way. I don’t know, but it broke the flow for me.
Also, Kumar’s last encounter became a little philosophical and I did not understand why it was mentioned. The general theme of the book was humour and suddenly it ended with a supposed thought-provoking note which came like Randy Orton’s RKO ‘out of nowhere’. I wish he had ended the book on a much more hilarious note.
Some Funny Lines From The Book
“Too shocked to react, I turn around to see that three guards are running towards us with angry faces. Shit! I abandon my dessert plate pocketing a few macrons and a slice of the chocolate cake and start running like mad. Vishnu has decided that he will run this marathon with his dessert plate and its content all over his shirt.
The plate must not lose its sanctity.
The plate must survive!”
“We camped at someone else’s property, almost crashed into a moose, had the most delicious Punjabi food cooked by a Nepali cook, dined with a duck which was not on our plate and almost had a ‘bear hug’.”
“I then went on to pursue engineering which is the safest degree you can get in India… By safest I mean, if you are pursuing engineering, you are considered extremely wise for making a safe choice which safeguards your future. Arre, degree hain na, isiliye!”
Final View: Keeping Up With Kaneda is an easy and amusing read. If you are planning to study abroad then you HAVE TO read this book. I finished this book in three hours straight and would recommend you pick this book when you wish to indulge in something extremely funny but have just a few hours to spare.
You can check out Amazon.in for a discount on this book.
This book is a review copy but the opinion in this post is unbiased and 108% my own.