Not Your Typical Texas Western

 

Sandip Mathur was born in India. He became a doctor there with specialist training in London, England and Houston, Texas. In Houston, he and his wife realized they loved Texas. They wanted to stay. He needed a Permanent Resident Card, the green card permitting an alien to legally remain and work in the United States. To get one he agreed to practice medicine three years in an underserved rural community.

“Cowboys and Indian: A Doctor’s First Year in Texas,” by Sandip V. Mathur, tells the story of his experiences. He, his wife and his two daughters ended up in a small West Texas town, two hours from Abeline, Texas.

The book follows his first year of practice at Hotspur (the fictional name Mathur gives the county where he moved). The experience defined culture shock. The Mathurs had always lived in cities with populations over one million people. Hotspur had less than 10,000 people in a 5000 square mile area. They were Hindi in a deeply Christian town. They were traveled. Most in Hotspur thought Dallas was a long journey.

Ultimately these differences mattered little. The Mathurs’ loved Texas’s heat. Texans reminded them of the Punjabi people where they grew up. Both could be rough, but both were straight, decent, and told it like it was. Color did not much matter in 1990s Hotspur or for the Mathurs. As for religion? Hotspur residents believed if you had love in your heart you had Jesus in your heart. Mathur accepted that attitude in the spirit it was offered.

Hotspur badly needed a doctor. Doctors applying to locations like Hotspur often had checkered pasts. Learning Mathur was there for three years to get a green card – and not because he was alcoholic or a pervert – was a relief. Color and religion mattered a lot less than competence. Mathur learned that his first full day at his new clinic. A man attacked by bees arrived with Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome from his allergic reaction. The other two doctors were out of town for the weekend. Mathur mastered the crisis, saving the man’s life.

“Cowboys and Indian” shows Hotspur and the Mathurs adjusting to each other. It has the magic of James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small,” with West Texas substituted for Yorkshire and general practice for veterinary medicine. There is the same humor, life-and-death crises, and love for the country life. It is inspirational and endearing.

“Cowboys and Indian: A Doctor’s First Year in Texas,” by Sandip V. Mathur, Texas Christian University Press, 2021, 184 pages, $24.95 (Paperback)

This review was written by Mark Lardas who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is marklardas.comThis review appeared in a different form in the December 2021 American Essence magazine.

Published in Immigration
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 10 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    Will definitely check this one out. 

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Sounds wonderful! Thanks, Seawriter. Will order today!

    • #2
  3. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    navyjag (View Comment):

    Will definitely check this one out.

    Me too! I’ve read and loved James Herriot’s books. Looking forward to that kind of authentic love of people and place again in this book. And the title is fantastic! Big fan already.

    • #3
  4. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Just ordered it on Amazon (I know, I know! — but, it’s so danged convenient!). Only 12 left in stock. Well, 11 now.

    • #4
  5. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    There is this common perception that rural folk are insular and xenophobic, but its rarely true. 

    • #5
  6. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Dbroussa (View Comment):

    There is this common perception that rural folk are insular and xenophobic, but its rarely true.

    Agreed. When I lived in rural Anderson I found the most insular people living there to be the transplants from Houston and DFW.

    • #6
  7. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Dbroussa (View Comment):

    There is this common perception that rural folk are insular and xenophobic, but its rarely true.

    Agreed. When I lived in rural Anderson I found the most insular people living there to be the transplants from Houston and DFW.

    Honestly it has to do with population density.  In the city, especially the central city, people are on top of each other.  There is a ton of traffic, and getting some alone time is critical to mental health.  People strive to find it in a sea of people.  So, they create a bubble around them where others do not exist and are ignored and expect the same from others.

    When I grew up in a rural area we knew our neighbors and were friendly to them because when you live alone, you crave company and others around you.  You tend to treasure the times that you get to be social and that means being friendly and welcoming because that person might be the only one you see today.

    • #7
  8. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Just ordered it on Amazon (I know, I know! — but, it’s so danged convenient!). Only 12 left in stock. Well, 11 now.

    I think they restocked.

    • #8
  9. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    OK – finished the book.  Good read, but he’s likely a better doctor than he is an author.  To me, he seemed overly verbose.

    Should have had a good editor: I don’t know, maybe someone that has experience writing military histories and book reviews.

    • #9
  10. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Chuck (View Comment):

    OK – finished the book. Good read, but he’s likely a better doctor than he is an author. To me, he seemed overly verbose.

    Should have had a good editor: I don’t know, maybe someone that has experience writing military histories and book reviews.

    Would not have been as authentic.

    • #10
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.