Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Nautanki Diaries - A Travelogue of Dominic Franks

A really pink puppet show themed cover having a cycling man dangled by strings, a colophon describing the book to be a travelogue, but most importantly the use of word Nautanki (mischief). In times where everyone documents their travel experiences through blogs, I wondered what lay inside, as, on top of it, the genre also mentioned non-fiction yet had mischief in its title.


Book Blurb
Nautanki Diaries sits comfortably in the travelogue niche, yet in the best traditions of travel writing, it does much more than just describe the passing scenery. With candour and a quirky sense of humour, the author carries the reader on a twenty-two-day journey on a cycle from Bengaluru to New Delhi, aiming to reach in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

As a schoolboy, Dominic Franks looked up to his sports coach, Shikaari, as a mentor and inspiration. Shikaari inadvertently planted the seed of a journey that he himself had made in 1982 in his young student’s mind. Eventually, the author decides to use the same sort of ‘doodhwallah’ bicycle and names her Nautanki.
Replete with anecdotes and (un)conventional wisdom gleaned from the conversations he has along the way, Nautanki Diaries is a ‘cycling book’—one that allows the reader to share the intricacies of cycling as a sport, as meditation in motion and as a craft.
As for Nautanki—she plays her role perfectly, in true heroine style, right till her very last act. 

Overall Verdict:- Saddle up and enjoy the Nautanki

“Nautanki Diaries” is a travelogue of Dominic Franks where inspired by his mentor he decides to journey from Bengaluru to Delhi to attend 2010 Common Wealth Games on a cycle who he fondly christens as “Nautanki” along with a crew who documents it as the journey progresses.

Dominic Franks has documented his gritty, colorful and soulful journey in a manner that is simple yet humorous. The manner in which it all starts with a whim, the preparations for the same, the different stages of the journey is written in an engrossing manner where we can relate ourselves.

From his encounters with different people from various cultures to the simple tea and cigarette breaks of the journey, the author is able to describe the same effortlessly. The transition from state to state is seamless. 

“Nautanki Diaries” is written in first person narrative. The chapters are dated well and there exists no dragging throughout the book. Personally, I felt the epilogue was overdramatized as compared to the rest of the book. But other than that the book is a delightful read and we are left mesmerized with the scenic journey that we take along with the author, both outside and inside.

This was my first book in this genre and all in all it was perhaps an adventure for me too. And I am glad and honored that I was able to do the same through the words of Dominic Franks.

For Dominic Franks’ well-written travelogue, my overall rating would be 4/5.

Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

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