This is not the first time I have fallen for an attractive cover and an enticing name, Tea is to Indians what magic potion is to Asterix. I know some people who can imbibe as many as fourteen cups a day.
This book is not just about tea, though it pops up quite frequently in it. It is a travelogue. I will amend that. It is an adventure-travelogue. Rishad Saam Mehta traveled at any given opportunity, whether hitching a ride on a truck, or on a train, rickety bus, airplane, motorcycle or myriad cars.
This book is a collection of his essays on a travel to some part of the country, titled by the most remarkable point of his journey. He has been nearly robbed, looked down the gun of a policeman manning checkpoints, caught pooping in a wrong place, subjected to arson and had his bones rattled in a rickety bus.
"Chandra Tal is as close to heaven as you can get while yet in a mortal form."
Most of the other passengers were simple hill folk for whom the bus really was a luxury- because for them anything that moved on its own accord without the help of a four legged creature was a luxury.
The first thing that struck me about him was his hair: hormones had made a serious navigational error because while his pate was shining and bald, his shoulders were a barber's playground.He is very witty without sounding smart-alecy. How he manages that, I don't know. He has, I presume, an innate and an enviable talent for writing. His anecdotes are so well told, that most times I was laughing out loud.
I polished off his book in a couple of long sittings. I was blessed with very little work in the office and read this book on phone all day.
He touches upon his visits to Leh, Ladakh, Drass, Srinagar, Delhi-Chandigarh highway, Kerala, Jaisalmer, Rann of Kutch. He has done river rafting and also participated in Raid-de-Himalaya. He knows how to let us know the difficulties of his situation without depressing us.