Book: Chennai To Chicago
Author: Sriram Ramakrishnan
Genre: Memoir/Autobiography
Release Date: 18th July, 2018

Blurb: Is there anything permanent at all? Anything that I can lean on to in this world? What is life? What am I doing here? Growing up in the 90's in India, hearing people going to "States" as software engineers, I wondered why people were so crazy about America. Without the internet or the zillion TV channels we have today, I had my own fantasies on “States”. Thanks to a Doordarshan Tamil drama in the 90's, "Marriage in Washington", I remember as a teenager sitting in front of the Television religiously every week with a yearning in my throat, "I should go to America someday". I didn’t know how that would happen, I had not even traveled in an Air Conditioned compartment in a train. But I knew, someday, I will go to America. And that someday arrived in the form of an admit in a US university with 100% scholarship and a monthly stipend. That began my wonderful "coming of age" experiences in the next 10 years of my life, with numerous travels, tribulations and life-changing experience. 

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."
                          -Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul 

"Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans."
                                       -Allen Saunders

It is always interesting to read a memoir, Though these are not so mesmerizing,imaginative like Fiction but still we love to read true stories, stories of men like us. But some people had such life stories which are actually more twisty,more emotional and more moving than Fictions, This memoir is one of them. 

The title make you think that it is actually a memoir of a software engineer, but it's more than that.

The author is little different person, his perspective to see world is little different than others. Off course it is not his inborn feature, his life experience and consecutive tragedies made him a changed person. He started his life in a normal note with a dream to be settle, happy. Then he realized after so much struggle that getting a job, marrying a woman, giving birth of a child, and being burnt like cigarettes is not actually life. So he started his soul searching journey. 

This memoir can be described as a travel memoir also. He went Chicago from Chennai for higher education, he travelled Germany, Cyprus for office purpose, he travelled the whole India to find his answers. His descriptions of the journey,the landscape, the culture, people Were brilliant. The exciting first time visit of America, the thrilling cross country ride, the Cyprus nights, his school, college stories, the hang outs, the friends, the girls in his life, the soul searching journey and the answers - everything was mesmerizing. He told different stories from different phase of life. His storytelling was astonishingly very good, engaging, fast paced and soulful. You will never think that you are reading a memoir, there was not a single boring part. He described all the characters so much lovingly. He made a brilliant comparison between Indian & western culture, reading which in independent day weekend gave me goosebumps. The memoir is written with so much humor, I appreciate author's sense of humor. Somewhere there was sarcasm. Some parts were really emotional and hearty. The author dealt with Racism and spiritualism. There was conversation with an Pakistani, where the Pakistani called the him and the author as 'We desis', that really gave me goosebumps.

There was frequent use of same language many times and the end was little fast and I found the final flavour little confusing, otherwise that was a very good read. The choice of the quotes in the beginning  of every chapter was brilliant and his writing was so much mature. I want the author to write some fiction next time. I want to read more from him. 

So full of humour, emotion, thrill, nostalgia, inspiration, this memoir suggest that beyond the rate race of life, beyond being a doctor/engineer and marry the most beautiful girl there is lot of things to do. So follow your dream to find the cause of your existence and off course pick this book and read.


Thanks to the author for giving me the chance to review this book. 

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