Six years ago, Bhaichand Patel gave my debut novel a glowing review in this very publication. So, when asked by Outlook to review I Am A Stranger Here Myself, Bhaichand’s ‘unreliable memoir,’ I was apprehensive. Could I be honest in my critique of the work of a generous fellow critic?
I’m relieved to say that I found this picaresque memoir by a gifted raconteur to be breezy and wholly entertaining.
From humble roots in the tiny Pacific island of Fiji to his travels (and travails) through Delhi, Mumbai, London, New York, Manila and Cairo, Bhaichand takes his readers on a merry romp through a clutch of capitals, countries and continents. Peppered with anecdotes, ruminations, nostalgia and even dirty jokes, this is vintage Bhaichand, who at 83 is still rapier sharp in his wit, a keen observer of human foibles and unsparing of fools that have dared cross his path.
Tracing a non-linear account of his life and loves, we learn of the author’s journey from a struggling exchange student in Delhi and Mumbai to becoming...