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Book Review: Delirious Delhi by Dave Prager

Title: Delirious Delhi
Author: Dave Prager
Paperback: 390 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins India(December 15th 2011)
Genre: Travel
Read: Paperback
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart
Summary: (Amazon)
Delhi exists in a kind of quantum state: in Delhi, all things are true at once. When the Big Apple no longer felt big enough, Dave and Jenny moved to a city of sixteen million people and, seemingly, twice that many horns honking at once. Delirious Delhi depicts India s capital as the two experienced it, from office life in the rising tech hubs to the traffic jam philosophy that keeps people sane in the gridlock leading to them. With only their sense of humour as their guide, Dave and Jenny set out to explore a city in which ancient stone monuments compete with glass-clad shopping malls to define the landscape. What follows is a top-to-bottom snapshot of a city in the thick of loud and accelerating change. Anyone new to Delhi will have their understanding of it magnified by this book. And anyone who already knows Delhi will appreciate this candid tribute to a city that s everything to everyone at the same time.

My Review:

It’s very easy for a non-Indian to either pan or highly praise India. Most books I’ve read or even people I’ve met either love India or hate India. But India isn’t a country of extremes, its not black or white but many shades of grey. It is a love-hate relationship – you love some, you hate some.

Dave and Jenny spent 18 months working out of Delhi. While in Delhi they seem to have explored the city in its various hues and tastes. The book is filled with anecdotes of Dave and Jenny’s time in Delhi. Their experiences with auto-rickshaws, vegetable vendors, maids, shopping, eating, and much more made me nod and smile with understanding.

Dave starts his stay in India enamored but with time the rose tint descends and Jenny and Dave get to see India in its true colours. They get cheated and conned initially but with time they have the last laugh. The city layout makes no sense initially, but by the time they leave they know their way around. The country of chaos with time unfolds to reveal a pattern and method to the madness.

India is a country of many hues, of opposites existing together, of both extremes being possible. It is a country you both love and hate at the same time and here its possible to do that. And Dave understands this; his book is all the shades of grey. I enjoyed reading Delirious Delhi and smiling and nodding along-side it. It was refreshing to read a book by a non-Indian who actually experienced the ‘real’ India.

Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart

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