Madhu Satish, a Bangalore based first time author, is all set to launch her novel, Dhik Dhik Thara, on April 12.
“When you look at the name, Dhik Dhik Thara, it is actually a popular boat song from Kerala and that’s what the book is essentially about. So the book is basically set in Aleppy and London. I’ve created these imaginary games called the WARC - World Amateur Rowing Championships. The main character is a gentleman called Brandon. He’s a rowing champion from the US. He comes to Alleppy and watches the snakeboat race. And from the championship race of that year (the book is set in 2004) he pulls out a team of about 20 racers and trains them to race at the international race which is the WARC. This is a sport that’s typically dominated by the Europeans. So, this is the first time a place like Alleppy features in such a scenario,” explains Madhu, who has been a corporate trainer for fifteen years now.
Her inspiration for the book came from Alleppy’s famous snakeboat races.
“It’s something that I have admired ever since I was a child. My second inspiration was Sir Steve Redgrave, who is a five time Olympic champion and a gold medalist, in five consecutive Olympics, from 1984 to 2000. That kind of dedication is really inspiring. You’ll see bits and pieces of him in some of my characters,” she says. Despite her attempts to meet the man and get in touch with him through fan mail, which went in vain, she has couriered a copy of the book to him.
A huge fan of the rowing sport, she follows the snakeboat races in Kerala that takes place in the months of August and September, every year. “There are rowing events across the world every year and I follow some of these events quite religiously,” she says.
Madhu hopes that the book will help bring Indian rowing to the forefront. “As a sport, it’s not given much attention in India. This is funny because we have a solid potential.
Right now, it’s restricted to the navy, army, that kind of a thing. I’ve sent the book to the Rowing Federation of India, as well,” she informs.
Although the book was written in 2008, it wasn’t until late last year that the talk of publishing the book took place.
“It had been shelved for some time. Last year, in November, I picked it up again and started working on it. Earlier, it just didn’t feel like the right time to come out and I felt like not enough research had gone in. I kept the original manuscript with me and last year when I picked it up again, I stuck to it and made sure I completed it,” she says.
Publishing the book was no easy task either. “There was no encouragement from any of the big guns, whether it’s your Penguin or your Harper Collins. So I went to Ganagarams last year, and I met Mr Atmaram N Gangaram. He was gracious to agree and said that he’ll give it a shot. He has helped me with the first thousand copies,” she says.