Saturday, May 6, 2017

Ryan Lobo

Ryan Lobo is the author of the novel Mr. Iyer Goes to War. From his Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you come up with the idea for a Don Quixote story set in in modern-day India?

A: I spent some time on the Ganges making documentaries for various clients including one some years ago at the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which tens of millions of Hindus gather to bathe in the Ganges.

I recall watching a very old couple slowly and painstakingly negotiate their way through the crowds towards the river. Later, when I spoke with them, they told me that they knew this was the last time they were going to the Kumbh, an event their ancestors had taken part in for centuries.

It was astonishing, the noisy and chaotic spectacle of the Kumbh, but I felt there was something more special about that old man and his wife walking down to the river in absolute silence themselves.

In India, particularities long suppressed due to poverty or colonial rule have begun to flow again with an increase in the living standard.

Regardless of what the land has been through something had survived through the ages that compelled that couple to travel great distances on foot and on trains to bathe at that river.

In these times when globalism seems to be swinging in the direction of local, I felt a need to tell the story of the "native" who believed that his culture, environment and faith was under attack but who was making a stand, no matter the odds.

The idea of a conservative iconoclast came to mind, a character who...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue