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Cricketer Hoggard deciphers India through novel!

English speedster partially succeeded in making sense of India courtesy a novel titled 'Home', which he read during the cricket tour.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 17:02 IST

English fast bowler Matthew Hoggard partially succeeded in making sense of India courtesy Manju Kapur's latest novel Home, which he read during his cricket tour that concluded last week.

"There is no doubt that India can be a fascinating place to visit but unfortunately we don't get much chance to experience the real India when we're on tour," Hoggard wrote in The Times last week.

"Most of our time is taken with matches, practice or travelling. Also, India is such a cricket-mad country that if we do venture out of our hotel, we tend to get mobbed within an instant. Not ideal for a spot of quiet sightseeing.

 Matthew Hoggard

"So Home was a good book with which to start the tour, an intriguing insight into the intricacies of traditional Indian family life."

Hoggard discussed four novels that he read during the tour: Home, The Spanish Game by Charles Cumming, The Ice Soldier by Paul Watkins and The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid.

He confessed that he usually prefers "crime fiction by the likes of John Grisham or Michael Connelly".

"While we jetted around India on umpteen internal flights (our schedule never seemed to take us direct to a destination), the four novels I had chosen took me on an alternative journey from the depths of Delhi to the peaks of the Alps, via Madrid, before ending on the wet hills of the Lake District."

Talking of Home, he noted: "I started reading it on the flight from Heathrow and continued (reading it during) our warm-up matches in Bombay and Baroda. It was a good read, telling the tale of the Banwari Lal family and the strains brought about by three generations living under the same roof.

"On some of our coach journeys early in the tour, I had wondered why so many houses in the outskirts of Mumbai and Baroda seemed unfinished, and often had scaffolding on the top.

"Well, Home gave me the answer. Whenever a new branch of the extended family came to live under the same roof, they would have to extend.

Without room to extend to the side or back, the solution would be to build upwards. Hence the scaffolding on top of so many houses!

"I passed Home on to Mark Saxby, the team masseur, who also enjoyed it."

First Published: Apr 20, 2006 13:21 IST