Share

Let it Roll, Baby, Roll

Let it Roll, Baby, Roll
The book cover of Sen's latest ,

What makes the book essential reading is that, as opposed to encyclopaedia- style collectible books for nerds, Sen adopts a research-oriented narrative format that makes for gripping reading

Prannay Pathak
July 04 , 2021
01 Min Read

In my opinion, the best way to teach history is to teach it through the history of something. It could be an invention, a cultural phenomenon, or an event that recurs several times in a period of time. History, arranged vaguely as a series of events in time, doesn’t mean much. 

Veteran automotive journalist Gautam Sen’s The Automobile: An Indian Love Affair hits the spot when it comes to that. Having picked up the book in the middle of my own fascination with 4WD vehicles, it’s a treat to read about the evolution of India as an automotive market and how the automobile has come to define our culture. From famous fleets and mean machines assembled for maharajahs and celebrities, the people’s car phenomenon that is in its fifth decade now, to the humble beginnings of the Royal Enfield (leather-loving lumberjacks, did you know it even launched a scooter named Fantabulous in the 1960s?) and forgotten three- wheel cars and nostalgia-inducing names like Hero Puch—the book leaves nothing out. 

The research that has gone into The Automobile is massive but in the end it doesn’t really come as a surprise considering the years its author has spent in the field. Sen’s voice is straightforward and authoritative, and the narrative takes into account most, if not all, voices involved in a specific event—for instance in the matter of the support extended to Maruti Udyog during the firm’s formative years. The chapter on the automobile as a central motif in pop culture makes it even more enjoyable. 

What makes the book essential reading is that, as opposed to encyclopaedia- style collectible books for nerds, Sen adopts a research-oriented narrative format that makes for gripping reading. He distils the massive volume of his interactions with industry bigwigs and experts into a 273-page book that’s essential reading for automobile lovers in India. 

What’s the best part? You don’t even need to read it from beginning to end—just park it in your shelf and take it for a spin whenever you feel like a ride. 

By Penguin Rs699 

 


Related Articles

Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe