New authors, New topics!

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Authors and publishers are coming up with unique topics. A few weeks ago, Bengaluru based Madhu Satish released her first book Dhik Dhik Thara, on boat rowing, to an enthralled audience. Ritu Goyal Harish from All About Book Publishing (ABP) caught up with the first-time author for a candid tete-a-tete about the book, her inspiration and the difficulties in publishing her first book.

Madhu SatishABP: You’ve chosen a rather unconventional topic for your first book. Was it intentional? Or did you just have a good story to tell?

MS: I have always been a big fan of Rowing (the sport) and wanted to write about it. I was born and raised in Kolkata for the first 10 years of my life and used to visit the rowing clubs. I would watch rowers down the Hoogly. In Jhargram, I would watch boats on the lakes. I used to visit Digha and watch the catamarans. When I was about eight or nine, I visited Alleppey and got a chance to watch the ‘snake boat’ races – Vallom Kalli.

Kerala is blessed with a lot of water and rowing is part of the culture. I lived in Kerala for eight years and grabbed every chance to see the annual boat races. It is here that I begun appreciating the value of music and rhythm in rowing. From the 90s I began to read about Sir Steve Redgrave who inspired me tremendously. In the year 2000, we were in Melbourne. It was the year of the Millennium Olympics held in Sydney. I used to watch rowers on the river Yarra.

Wherever there was water, boats and the rhythm…..my soul followed. It has been a love affair all along. This book is simply a chance to express it.

ABP: You’re a first time author. How easy/difficult was it to get your book out in the market?

MS: Publishing your first book is no cakewalk. You will be blessed with a fair share of publisher rejections and you also run the risk of your baby falling into the wrong hands. Getting a good editor who adds value to your work is also a challenge but I was spared as I got a fabulous guide in Aditya Magal. Overall I did have my gut in my throat moments but the book turned out good in the end.

ABP: How long did it take you to write the book?

MS: The book was with me for many years, slowly coming together. I am a water baby…. a Dolphin and Ray. I have always been fascinated with the harmonious union of man-machine and water. I finally sat down to write in August 2008 and finished the first draft in five months.

I started sending the raw manuscript to publishers but got no response so I shelved it. In the meantime I also misplaced the soft copy of the book. I only had one hard copy. For five years I did not go back to it. On November 02, 2013, I awoke at three ‘o’ clock in the morning with a vision of where I had put that CD. I scrambled to search for it and found it. Going down on my knees I said, “Thank you Lord!”

I decided to try once more and that lead to the final genesis of my third child – Dhik Dhik Thara. April 12, 2014 was the day she rowed out to the world.

ABP: Tell us a bit more about the book.

MS: I have laughed and cried as I penned the story and I hope Dhik Dhik Thara will make you do the same.

You will enjoy the ‘Mallu English’ as spoken by the fun filled characters from Alleppy. I believe humour is the ability to see fun in anything you do and that is exactly what the whole Jing Bang of the book accomplishes even though the gruelling sport of rowing brings them to tears.

With never a dull moment, the book is a de-stressor to the core. A quick read, I hope you will find it hard to put down once you start reading.


Dhik Dhik Thara

–Rhythm of a Dream: A Peek

In 2004, an American rowing champion, Brandon Miles and his wife Angela, came to Alleppy to film the finals of the Annual Nehru Snake Boat Race.

Brandon had won the world rowing championship in 2003 but foul play saw him stripped of his medal and honour. He had tested positive in his Drug Test. Later on, he was proved innocent but it was too late. He migrated to London with Angela.

He dreamed of becoming a rowing coach and wanted to do something that had never been done in the history of rowing- he wanted to form and train a team of rowers from a ‘non-rowing country’ to compete in the 2005 World Amateur Rowing Championships…..WARC.

He had heard about the Alleppy Snake Boat races and decided to try and form a team from the winning team of the 2004 Annual Snake Boat finals.

This is a story of how Brandon and Angela put the team together. It is about how they make heroes of simple people from the quiet town of Alleppy.

Champions are not ‘country bound’….not from the West or East or North or South. Champions are the ones who sweat it out and believe in themselves no matter what the situation.

“Dhik Dhik Thara Dhik Dhik Thom
Dhik They Thaka They They Thom”

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