It was a smooth ride into the 57th session of An Author’s Afternoon with doctor-turned-author Dominic Franks. He began his career as a medical practitioner but called it quits to become an author. But writing a book is not an easy task, he soon realised. However, the adventurer in him bailed him out.
Inspired by Shikaari, his school teacher who had cycled across the nation in 1982, Dominic took to the road some fifteen years later in 2010 on a Hercules DTS bicycle or “Nautanki”. It was a typical dudhwala (milkman’s) cycle. He started to pedal from deep south to New Delhi to see the Commonwealth Games, hoping to play a match with ace shuttler, Saina Nehwal.
It took him 20 days to cover 2000 kms and his adventures along the way provided food for thought for his first book “Nautanki Diaries”.
Conversationalist, Sandip Roy, an IT professional, was just the right man for the occasion. His queries brought out the highpoint of Dominic’s adventures. Dominic read out an excerpt from his book on Sunny Deol temple which turned out to be Shani Dev temple. The whole incident had a Comedy of Errors aura around it.
Dominic recounted how he found shelters in government hospitals, railway stations, inspection bungalows, railway platforms and templesduring nights. How he discovered and appreciated the native intelligence of simple illiterate villagers.
The journey helped him re-discover rural India and with itthe hopes and frustrations of the young people; the broadness of the village folks who always shared food and their homes.