Welcome to the USA
Center of Artificial Imagination (2008)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (12/08)
The story begins in 1987, in Davis, California. Kalpanik has emigrated from Delhi, India to the United States. His first job is as a teaching assistant while he is working on his Masters Degree in Computer Engineering. This is also where he is first introduced to the American culture. He offers interesting and entertaining comparisons of life in India vs. life in the United States. In one of his examples he mentions how Indian women wear beautiful clothing like their saris and American women wear jeans. Ironically, the same evening after reading this book, I attended a party given by a family from where he is from. The discrepancy in clothing between the Americans and Indians was very evident and made me think of his musings on this subject.
The story then jumps ahead fifteen years to when Kalpanik is now married with children living in Seattle. In addition to being a man in a foreign land, Kalpanik also has to learn about how to deal with his own doubts and uncertainties as a man, a husband, a father and an employee. He is very open and honest about the different issues that he faces. Many of his musings are both thought-provoking and humorous.
After leaving Seattle, he moves on to Nashville to become the Head of Technology for a company. Then one day he finds himself in San Diego. His family follows him through these moves and changes. At times he has to live apart from them. I found his relationships with both his wife and daughters to be very endearing. I also enjoyed his observations about the different moves that he has made. I have visited each place that he ended up at and got a kick out of seeing the locations and cultures of the people through his eyes. Even though all are in the United States, each place has its own special flavor. Kalpanik also includes a wealth of photographs to illustrate his stories. Some show the beauty of the places, others show the uniqueness of the people.
“Welcome to the USA” by Kalpanik S. is a very enjoyable book to read. I highly recommend it, and think that it would also make a fun gift for both travelers and arm chair travelers.