The image of America that I had in my teenage was that of a heaven. The stories I heard were plenty – that, in America, even beggars travel in Mercedes Benz, there is no poverty, you get a 1 ltr pet bottle of Coca Cola for Rs. 1 (yeah, in Rupees not in Dollars) etc. But not all stories gave such rosy pictures. Another set of stories told me that despite of being so rich, America has no family values or culture and their men and women are sex machines who are ready to have sex with everyone.
Watching the Hollywood movies and reading more about America in the late teenage gave another set of pictures. Drug peddling, racism, teenage pregnancy, school shootouts and so on. But it also threw out some old stereo types of the sex hungry females and culture-less families. And when I looked at it, I could draw a lot of parallels between my country and America. On both the good and bad sides. Then I realized that there isn’t much that I should be proud of or feel inferior of my country in comparison with America.
When I finished reading the book “Roadrunner – An Indian Quest in America” by blogger-writer Dilip D’Souza, I felt the same way again. Dilip draws parallels between India and America, oh and perhaps it’s not just about these two countries, but what the human kind everywhere in this world shares in common. It is a travelogue that takes you along with the writer while you go through the pages. Instead of going through the prominent tourist spots and presenting the boring details of such journeys, Dilip chooses to take the paths less traveled by travel writers. He talks to ordinary people, takes us through the extra-ordinarily ordinary places and gets you glued to the pages. He also observes both countries in terms of patriotism and liberalism and gives us a food for thought on the subject. And one story he has kept for us in one of the final chapters, based on a personal account, would shake us cold.
In Roadrunner, you won’t see a blind admiration or an outright contempt for America, both of which could be prominently seen in the books about America. The book is more than 300 pages long and I did skip a couple of chapters that seemed boring to me. I wish Dilip could have skipped some of the detailing in those chapters. I think in the web 2.0 era, writers have to learn how to engage readers in striking, but shorter lines. Dilip does that in his blog though.
Nevertheless, Roadrunner is a good read and as a person who has never visited America, I enjoyed reading it because it gave me a feeling of going on a trip along those long windy roads with the author.
Oh and about the package – it was a refreshing change that the back cover of the book did not have any newspaper quotes, or celebrity quotes saying “Great book! Thumbs up!! I would strongly recommend it to everyone” and such gimmicks. I like that. 🙂
Order the book in Flipkart here
Title: Roadrunner – An Indian Quest in America
Author: Dilip D’Souza
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: Rs. 399