A tale of two democracies
If you had to sum up Dilip D’Souza as a writer, perhaps no other statement would do him as much justice as the Henry James quote: "A writer is someone on whom nothing is ever lost." This is a valuable quality in someone who is attempting to understand two of the world’s biggest democracies – India and America – through a prism of objectivity minus its implied attendant detachment. Not an easy task at the best of times; after 9/11, perhaps even more so. As someone who grew up in India and spent close to a decade living and working in pre-9/11 America, D’Souza is perhaps uniquely qualified to write this book. He has experienced the surprise of India’s – often tumultuous – growth over the decade he was away, and the shock of America’s transformation after one tragic day.
Thoughtful, insightful and incisive, this book is a mix of reportage, comment, documentary and travelogue. From finding Gandhi’s philosophy at work in a town in Massachusetts, to drawing parallels between a particularly voluble group of evangelicals and India’s patriotic zealots; from grappling with New York accents, to a short, sad encounter with a run-over roadrunner. Dilip D’Souza has put together a collection of meaningful vignettes of American life as seen through the eyes of an Indian.