Manhattan Alien
by B. K. Mhatre

"I was baptized by an Italian American, Jennifer Graziano, from Raju More to Roger Moore alias James Bond, or more precisely Dr. Bond."

Mhatre has penned a charming memoir about his experiences when immigrating to America. Using wit and self-effacing humor, he recounts his reactions to the United States and his struggles to understand many cultural mores that are initially alien to him. Already a doctor when he arrives, he’s immediately taken under the wing of a young medical student who realizes that while he may be brilliant at his chosen field, he’s woefully inept at navigating social situations that require an understanding of the American way of doing things. She becomes his guru, and he becomes a willing student.

Their first challenge is language. While he knows the King’s English quite well, he has no knowledge of American slang. Laugh-out-loud passages ensue as the doctor bumbles his way through everything from hot dog buns to fist bumps. Told that American’s love small talk, he chats up a woman in an elevator by asking if she’s recently gained weight. You can imagine the lady’s response. As doctor and student work on both medicine and assimilation, a warm friendship develops. Readers will soon wonder where that relationship may lead.

Mhatre writes with intelligence and honesty. His willingness to share blunders as well as triumphs is endearing. Love of and appreciation for his native India and his new home, America, is apparent throughout. While never pontificating about it, this is a chronicle that shows what can be accomplished when individuals’ aspirations are met with kindness and understanding. There is much to like and learn from this Manhattan Alien.

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