Karthik Iyengar's almost-book Horn Ok Please is a study in savvy marketing and inspiring idealism
The book isn't even out yet, but it's already got a fan following of close to 9,000 on Facebook. The author is fond of referring to himself as a ‘moron' but he's managed to get the support of two big corporates — Capgemini and Redbull — and even the official chchap of the Government of India for the 40-day road trip on which the book is partially based.
And though he frequently declares that all he says is ‘unadulterated trash', he's serious about social service (helping out the children at a Tibetan village is part of this trip) and about living the Indian dream your own way.
Bangalore-based Karthik Iyengar and his much-talked-about almost-book Horn OK Please (it's still in the process of being written and edited) are a study in both savvy marketing and a certain inspiring idealism. And, well, a lot of goofiness and silly talk.
At a recent promotional event in Ecstasy, Karthik and his photographer friend (and road-trip buddy) Rohit Tiwari introduced themselves as follows: “We're professional morons and lechers — the beauty of women, India, and anything that has to do with nothing at all inspires us.”
Their Facebook page Horn OK Please (HOP) is filled with odes to pretty female HOP fans (‘HOPer of the Day' — “No guy will ever be picked”), followed by the wheedling ‘Will you buy my book please?', references to Chief Redbull (Karthik), Goose (Rohit) and Motormouth, their talking SUV, their favourite music (heavy metal, of course) and their travails on the road.
But as they keep talking at the event (and they, especially the Chief, talk a lot) you realise that underneath it all lies a rather touching earnestness. “We want to depict the experience of urban India with positivity — no tinge of sadness or poverty,” says Karthik, who works for Capgemini. “We want to show the spirit of the people we meet; India is not about darkness.”
For all its craziness, their posts of Facebook often have reminders of how not to be stupid while driving or maybe on giving up smoking. “We're trying to get the message out — if you want to do something, do it safely, have fun and make a difference,” he says.
And social service is an integral part of it all — their road trip from Kanyakumari to Ladakh (which they're starting on soon) will end at the Tibetan SOS Village where the guys plan to support a group of kids: “We're trying to be modern day Robin Hoods, taking from the corporations and turning it around to children in Ladakh,” says Karthik.
Every step of this unusual journey will, of course, be shared with the adoring HOPers on Facebook, many of whom are willing to chip in for the cause or lend them a place to crash for the night on the way. “I just woke up one fine day, and started the community four months ago, and it's growing like fungus,” says Karthik with a grin.
What the book actually will be like, nobody knows yet (not even Karthik). But just the writing of it seems to guarantee plenty of entertainment.