When I met Shantaram...

#1 Jul 26th, 2010, 18:34
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#1
I guess a lot of people who enter Cafe Leopold in Colaba, Mumbai, thinks - what if he's here.... David Gregory Roberts. Shantaram himself. Undoubtedly the book has cult status, and so has the man himself.

It was my last day in Mumbai, early December 2009. It was going to be a long day. Last days are never fun; you would like to stay - at the same time you're ready to go home. Luggage is packed, stored in the hotel. One shouldn't really go for any last minute shopping, unless it fits in your handpack.

Anyway, the hours whiled away and in the late afternoon we set out for Marine Drive, some food, back again, some shops, some coffee.... And we decided to have our last meal at Leo.

It was getting dark, we were starting to cross the street, this charming slalom game one gets so good at in Mumbai and elsewhere. Then - half way I saw him, on a very potent motorbike. David Gregory Roberts himself. I just went straight up to him, and well - didn't say "Dr Livingston I presume" - but - Is that really you, Shantaram - the first thing that sprang into my mind.

I must say, he was really Mr Nice Guy. We had a friendly chat, I asked him about his recent book launch in Norway and he told me whom he had met over there. And that Leo had a lot of Norwegian and Swedish guests that evening - and well... I can't really remeber more. But I just had to be a true big fan and ask him to pose in a photo together with me. At least I felt a bit star struck...., - and asked my husband - who was standing a bit helpless together with the rest of my travel companions wondering who the heck is he...- if he could take a photo or two.

Shantaram is not an outstanding piece of literature. In fact I had to read it in two goes, and many times along the road I felt tired of the whole thing. But as it happens, I love BIG BOOKS, (many pages). And Shantaram is entertaining and in my opinion well written. And one tends to believe the whole thing is true.... Moreover, a Mumbai-lover like me likes every book that takes you out in the streets of Mumbai.
Some people think the book is crap, hopefully they haven't forced themselves through all 800 something pages!

I'm not afraid to admit that this meeting is something I remeber with great pleasure. Maybe because Roberts was so forthcoming. It was the perfect end of a perfect holiday!
#2 Jul 26th, 2010, 20:59
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#2
So it's a real person after all
#3 Jul 26th, 2010, 23:47
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#3
Yeah it would appear the publisher wrote somebody (the guy who posed for the back cover) a check!
#4 Jul 26th, 2010, 23:58
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#4
An interesting encounter!!

Actually, I am happy to hear about your "two sitting" approach to reading the book. After your post, I am now finally getting the motivation to read the last third of the book. I started it on a plane and train journey 4 years ago. Somehow, I got caught up in my next book before getting a chance to finish it.
#5 Jul 26th, 2010, 23:59
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#5
A real literary lunch!

I doubt that I would actually recognise any of my favourite authors. Not even the living ones!
#6 Jul 27th, 2010, 00:26
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#6
So it is fiction after all. If D.G.Roberts really had this history of a drug conviction, prison break-out, travelling on a false passport etc. he wouldn't be allowed to travel. I'm sure the Government of Australia wouldn't issue him a passport and even if it did the Government of India wouldn't give him a visa. And countries like Singapore probably wouldn't even allow him to transit.
#7 Aug 28th, 2010, 06:18
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#7
well, could it be possible that David G. Roberts is not his real name? and regarding to the book, he has endless access to good fake passports.. hm, still sounds kind of weird to go on a book-release tour, but.. haha
.If you want to know who I am, don't aske me my name, or where I live, or what I like to eat, or what clothes I wear, but ask me what I am living for, in-depth, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully that one thing I want to live for.
#8 Aug 28th, 2010, 06:25
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#8
I also met him in Colaba at few years ago in the David Sassoon Library where he was giving a talk about the book. A very friendly and charming guy!
#9 May 19th, 2011, 22:30
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#9
Wikipedia:
Shantaram is a 2003 novel by Gregory David Roberts, a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escaped from Pentridge Prison and fled to India where he lived for 10 years. While partially based on Roberts' own experiences, Roberts himself has clarified that the story and its incidents are largely fictional.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shantaram_%28novel%29

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