India's Best Travel Writings
Just finished reading India's Best Travel Writings - Edited by Anurag Mathur. It is a collection of travelogues written by various eminent authors including William Dalrymple, Ruskin Bond, Anees Jung, Bill Aitken, Sunil Sethi, Sumita Paul, Ajay Kumar Sud and Dubby Bhagat. A very good book (I skipped the writings of Bachi Karkaria and Jug Suraiya). It covers almost all of India - including Salem, Yercaud, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Himalayas, Hyderabad and a lot more. I learnt quite a few things that I didn't know earlier. Salem is pronounced as Sailem in Tamil and it means "surrounded by hills". Yercaud stands for lake in the forest (eri-lake and kadu-forest). Hyderabad was earlier known as Bhaktinagar (and there is a story attached to it about how it came to be known as Bhaktinagar and later as Hyderabad). The vivid description of the scene around the Jama Masjid in Delhi is brilliant. It has been written by Shalini Saran and I must say that her ability to describe people and places is one of the best I have come across so far. One line that stood out for me: "The tea is milky and sweet and served in sticky glasses and everyone loves it." When read in the context of the entire passage, you would be able to appreciate the true essence of this line. Bill Aitken is a wonderful writer and writes with a great sense of flair. Also, this was the first time I read William Dalrymple and I must say I was really impressed. He has given an account of Simla and a couple of Anglo-Indians who have made Simla their home. Read him for his humour. A beautiful book and a must read for anyone who loves to indulge in the million flavours that India offers to its people. ************ On the current affairs front, my take on the Meerut incident here.
Labels: Book Review