Three characters take a plunge to drive around India in the world’s cheapest car, the Nano.The Nanologues is a travelogue by Vanessa Able who comes back to India in the month of February 2010 to relive the memories of the past. In her college years, she travelled around the country in buses and trains, envying the Israeli motorcyclists on the road. This time around she hits the road in a Nano with her partners-in-crime- Abhilasha and Delilah. Abhilasha is what she rechristens her second hand lemon yellow, LX version of Nano and Delilah is her GPS device. And that’s how the tone is set for a women only brigade that starts a journey to traverse 10,000 km from Mumbai.
Deciding on a whim, Able googles up a route plan and instantly comes up with the idea to clock up 10000 km on her odometer. As Able revs up for a voyage around the country, your mind takes a flight of fancy into the picturesque landscape of India, the adventure of a road journey, people and their stories on the road. Before you fall for that sort of indulgence, let’s break the news: Yes, sporadically, Able does tell you about the cities she goes to, the people she encounters on the way. But all that becomes a mini subplot compared to the story of Nano. How Nano hit the headlines by being the people’s car; how everybody on the road wants to strike a deal for Able’s Nano; how Nano gets embroiled in a controversy in West Bengal; and how it shifts its base to Sanand in Gujrat- from the production stage to its delivery in the market, the panegyric to Nano becomes the overriding theme of the book. Shifting gears from one state to another, the Nano story plays out with flair, marking all the events in its trajectory, uptill the moment Able shows her growing concerns about the flaring up of Nano’s on road. The book makes a reference to the stereotypical hierarchy in automobiles on the road, how one man’s coffers decide his machine and his road etiquettes and how the aukaat factor play a huge role in deciding powerplay on Indian roads.
Going by all of it, if the Indian automobile history coupled with a spotlight on Nano, excites you, do read it. It’s a foreigner’s perspective of Indian roads and the mayhem that plays out on them, with maternal instincts for a car she personifies.