Sundarrajk's Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Travelogue

Around India in 80 TrainsAround India in 80 Trains by Monisha Rajesh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A travelogue by a person born and brought up in England. The author decides to go around India in trains. Her goal is to traverse the length and breadth of India in trains. She looks for her Passepartout and finds one in an atheist Norwegian.

Both set off on their journey. The initial adjustment takes a while even though they travel by A/C two tier (considered one of the better modes of travel in the Indian Railways). They encounter the callousness of the Indian Railways booking agent, but repeated encounters endears them to the booking agent.

They experience the rush hour of the Mumbai locals. (At places the author has taken liberty to state that a local from Parel to CST had a crushing crowd in the evening. This is just not possible as that is the time that people are returning from CST and the rush would be on the trains coming from CST and not going to CST.) Some such liberties do not spoil the tenor of the books even for readers who are used to traveling in the Indian Railways.

She has kept the book limited to the experiences in the trains and has not ventured into describing the places that she visited. It is to be noted that the narration gives the impression that they traveled to some places just to increase the count of the trains and not to actually visit the places.

They encounter various types of people who intrude into their lives and also expose their lives to them during the train journeys.

She has an epiphany at Puri where she is not allowed to enter the Jagannath temple as she is with a foreigner and because she holds a British passport. This makes her reconcile with the atheist Passepartout and she herself starts tilting towards becoming an atheist.

Driven by the above experience and having heard from others her journey culminates with a 10 day Vipassana session at Hyderabad.

A nice read. Not something that should put off adventurous travelers from taking the Indian Railways.

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