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This is really one hell of a yarn, loaded with adventure, humor, and love for life, people, and places. Some people have such an energy and receptiveness that their lives are one adventure after another, and it seems Mr. Kusy is one of those, and also a natural born story teller.
In the course of his work Kusy made many buying trips to India. A lot of this business has to be conducted on the edges of legality. In this business, rivals don't sue one another in court; they bomb, kidnap, torture or otherwise sabotage one another. Shakedowns by corrupt police and other officials are common. Suitcases stuffed with hundreds of thousands of rupees worth of silver jewelry must be carried across borders, and may be stolen, misplaced, or confiscated by customs agents, with little recourse except to try and recover the loss on the next buying trip. A fortune, or one's life, may be lost or gained in a very short time. This element of danger and intrigue is like that found in an Ian Fleming spy thriller, but in this case it's a true story, and truth is often stranger than fiction.
It's also a great travelogue, in which Kusy's knowledge of and affinity for India shines through on almost every page. Then there's also the story of the maniacal Spud, Kusy's mentor, partner, and (later) rival. There's a love story in there, too; several actually. My favorite chapter in the book is when the author takes his terminally ill mother to visit India, but there's also moving passages about the author's wife, their cats, the sights, sounds and people of India, and other things.
Importing merchandise and wholesaling it is a rough business that, even if one survives the danger will still eventually wear a person down, and even a million rupees (the ultimate goal) is equivalent to only about 20,000 British pounds. The author did eventually build a substantial business, though perhaps he could have made more money doing almost anything else. But then he wouldn't have written this book.
In his epigraph, the author describes the book as "an (almost) true account." The reader may decide for himself where, if anywhere, the story diverges slightly from truth. There were one or two places where I thought there might be a small discrepancy or discontinuity, that made me wonder it the author may have been holding back something, to protect either the guilty or the innocent, and though this might be a small flaw in the book, it's also intrigueing.
I was fascinated and enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
What can I say? I am at a loss for words. So, instead of attempting to write a review, I will write this open letter to the author:
Dear Mr. Kusy,
Reading your book "Kevin And I In India", I have been traveling India with you, all the time worrying about your health or rather your mere survival. I had been so relieved when you were finally back home, safe and sound. And what do you do? Instead of finding a steady 8 to 5 job, marrying a nice girl, and starting a family, as, I am sure, your mother would have wanted you to, you start traveling the world again. I, meanwhile, learned that "Off the Beaten Track: My Crazy Year in Asia", which I have not yet read, follows your first backpacking trip to India. Not knowing this, I plunged right into "Rupee Millionaires", and plunge I did, hardly emerging before I finished the last page.
Mr. Kusy, worrying about you throughout your travels with Kevin gives me the right to patronize you and give you ... eh some well-meant advice and constructive criticism. As your self-appointed mentor, I am accompanying your memoir "Rupee Millionaires" with the following annotations:
"You are not serious doing this!"
"How can you!"
"How could you!"
"What were you thinking!”
"What on earth were you thinking!"
"No! Not again!"
"Have you still not learned that ..."
"You should know by now that ..."
"I hope you learned from this."
"You are not seriously telling me that ..."
"You should be more careful, or you’ll wind up dead.”
"Don't do this!"
"Don't do that!"
"You must not ..."
"Look! This girl is not right for you. You deserve better."
"All right! You couldn't help getting involved with this business partner of yours. But for heaven's sake, get rid of him now before he kills you."
"Listen! If you don't care about your own future, think of your cats' future."
"Hold on to this woman. Marry her before she finds out how much trouble you are."
While some of the above annotations should be inserted where appropriate, most can be placed at random.
Mr. Kusy, you need a babysitter. I hope your wife is up to the job. Send her my regards and tell her she can call me when she feels like having a nervous breakdown.
P.S. Mr. Kusy, it is your fault that my poor husband was served Thanksgiving dinner a few hours late. I hadn't been able to start cooking in time as I had found it impossible to put down your book.
Most recent customer reviews
This is my fourth read by Frank Kusy and I was not disappointed.
In Rupee Millionaires, Frank and his unscrupulous business partner are trying to do just...Read more
A well worthwhile read.