Nominated | Book Awards 2019 | English Non-fiction
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.
Dominic Franks graduated from Bangalore Medical College. His passion for sports led him to give up his career in medicine and join a premier sports channel. In September 2010, he decided to go on a cross-country bicycle journey from Bengaluru to New Delhi to witness the Commonwealth Games. It’s Not About the Cycle—winner of Best Adventure Film at the 2017 Toronto Beaches Film Festival—stars Nautanki, his bicycle, the central character of Nautanki Diaries.
Currently, he is working on producing his first documentary feature about human-animal relationships. When not working to travel, or travelling for work, Franks holes up in Bengaluru where he lives, laughs and loves.