Book Discussion: Yes, My Accent is Real by Kunal Nayyar.

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“The Big Bang Theory” is one of the first shows that had introduced me to American sitcoms and that I have been watching since I was a child and continue to watch till date. The characters have become familiar and if I may add, friendly and relatable over the seasons. So when Kunal Nayyar’s (he plays the character of Raj Koothrapalli on TBBT) “Yes, My Accent is Real” became available in the stores, the fangirl in me was super excited to get hold of a copy.

As Kunal Nayyar insists, “Yes, My Accent is Real” is not a memoir because he’s too young and not a Kardashian to pen one. And it’s definitely not an autobiography. “Yes, My Accent is Real” is a collection of Kunal’s experiences in America and New Delhi as an university student who suddenly stumbles upon his love for acting and a young boy who plays “real badminton”.

I’m a massive fangirl of Kunal Nayyar but my opinions on his book is totally independent of that feeling (I promise).

First things first, “Yes, My Accent is Real” is a major LOL fest. I haven’t read a book in a long, long time that has made me laugh– not that tiny snort of air that we exhale usually when we read something funny online but REALLY laugh out loud and gasp for breath like a dying walrus. Yes, the book indeed is THAT hilarious. Personally I’m not much of a fan of self-deprecating humor and thankfully Kunal’s book has minimum indulgence in that genre of humor. The incidents reported are something that most of us are familiar with and can easily relate to which gave me a feeling of talking to a friend and listening to him talk about his childhood or how his day went instead of reading a book. Just like his Raj Koothrapalli, Kunal Nayyar makes himself easily available to his audience through his book. His narration is humble, honest and respectful towards the reader. Kunal talks about his failures with as much reverence as his successes. I especially liked how he attributes both failure and success in making him, or for that matter anybody, who they are today. Also, he’s pretty smooth with women (unlike his character Raj who suffers from selective mutism around women” and is as funny in person as he’s on TV. A quote often used in the book, “IF WHAT YOU WANT HAPPENS, GOOD. IF IT DOESN’T HAPPEN, VERY GOOD.” (which was actually said to him by his father) is something that I have decided to stick by. The book also includes stuff which he has learnt over the years, what he has been taught by his elders and little nuggets of wisdom which he writes down on airplane napkins.

Kunal also tells the youngsters why being an Indian “cool” and why we should we proud of our intrinsic values. People living in a different country other than their native will especially be able to relate to his “culture shock”, the initial sense of loneliness, feeling like an outcast and how a different ethnicity could actually work in your favor. “Yes, My Accent is Real” ultimately a book on universal brotherhood and how deep down inside all our insecurities are the same. This book along with being totally hilarious also talks about acceptance and tolerance without sounding patronizing.

Go get hold of a copy ASAP and laugh along with Kunal as he takes you through an incredible journey of first kisses, badminton championships, emo band formations (his was called The Prince and The Pauper), a big fat Indian wedding and the creation of beloved our beloved Raj Koothrapalli.

Fin!

-Sayari.

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