March 18, 2010

Roadrunner in Goa

If it's Saturday, it must be Goa. Something like that. See below for the e-invite that the bookstore Literati in Calangute is sending out. So if you're in the vicinity on Saturday evening, please be there.

What the hell, please be there even if you're nowhere in the vicinity on Saturday evening.


Literati invites you to journey through DILIP D'SOUZA's book ROADRUNNER. SUDEEP CHAKRAVARTI (author of Red Sun) will preside over the journey which explores small town America from the Indian view point. Please join us on 20th March 2010 at 7 p.m.

Literati Bookshop and Cafe,
E/1-282 Gaura Vaddo,
Calangute, Bardez, Goa- 403516
(in the lane opposite Tarcar Ice Factory, next to ABC farms and La Fenice)

Tel: (0832) 22 777 40

You can find a map to consult on the Literati site.

"Indian travel writing, never a large or a particularly vibrant genre, comes of age in Dilip D'Souza's Roadrunner." DNA Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Over the course of three long, looping drives through the South, the Mid-West and the West, D'Souza takes the back roads, goes into the small towns, and looks into the real, everyday America, and the real, everyday Americans who inhabit it. He is a sort of Indian Bill Bryson among the proverbial fat girls in Des Moines.

In the process, he does many of the things I wish I could have done myself. He goes, for example, to the world's biggest annual gathering of Harley Davidson enthusiasts, in South Dakota, and hangs out with a group of black-leather-and-denim-clad "Bikers for Christ", who spread the word of God among the hard-drinking, hard-sinning congregation, patiently distributing their literature ("Wanted: Drug addicts, alcoholics, satanists, topless dancers, liars, adulterers, homosexuals, racists by Jesus Christ") and engaging random bikers in conversations about how Darwin was dead wrong.

He visits the Civil War cemetery at Shiloh, Tennessee, where nearly 20,000 young American soldiers lie buried, and discovers just how jagged was the divide that ran through the heart of the country: from the list of regiments that fought here, for example, he learns that one part of the 1st Missouri Regiment fought for the Union, while another part of the 1st Missouri fought for the Confederacy, comrade gunning down comrade.

He wanders down the historic Route 66 (immortalised by Nat King Cole's old song), which once took migrants from the Dust Bowl of the 1930s to the promised land of California, and he talks to people from the slowly dying communities along the Route today who are bravely trying to cope with the marginalisation that has followed its de-linking from the US highway system in the 1980s.

D'Souza is a sensitive and thoughtful man, and therefore Roadrunner is more than just the usual travel book; it has a collection of insights and observations about India, triggered off by parallel experiences in the US. For example, a conversation with Carl, his "Biker for Christ" friend is, for him, like looking into a mirror at the entire "Is desh mein rehna hoga, Toh Vande Mataram kehna hoga" issue. Driving through Alabama, listening to bad country music on the car radio sets off a speculation about why today's low-brow Bollywood mega-hits have connected with the Indian listener in a way that the great music of the O.P.Nayyar-Sahir-Naushad era could have never done. A visit to an Arizona aerospace museum leads to a reflection on the purpose of India's Republic Day Parade (via a comment on the behaviour of gazelles being chased by lions). The book is filled with philosophical cut-aways like these." The Hindu Sunday, Feb 21, 2010


richa said...

looking forward to the event! cheers :)

Dilip D'Souza said...

Look forward to seeing you, richa.