“If money was no object, then what you would do with your life?”
Ask this to anyone and more than half of the respondents would include travelling in their answers. Because who does not want to see the world? The only thing that is really stopping anyone is, obviously, money. Remove money from the equation and everyone would only be travelling.
Devapriya Roy and her husband Saurav Jha, tied to their nine-to-six, mall-going, office-tripping identities, decided to quit their jobs to surrender their lives to their obsessions. Devapriya shares, “As far as Saurav was concerned, travelling the country at length was definitely the first step to understanding what the Preamble to the Constitution calls ‘India that is Bharat’. Clearly, studio discussions were not enough. For me, it seemed that seeing the country is important for anyone with aspirations to writing. Rajashekhara’s Kavyamimamsa tells the apprentice poet to travel the length and breadth of the country.”
Saurav Jha and his wife Devapriya Roy were like any other working couple in India, making a living, and some saving. And then they decided to chase their dream and not career. The couple decided to quit their jobs and embark on a journey, through the length and breadth of India.
But like most people out there wanting to travel their dream destinations, money posed the first challenge. But the couple, who had already published their first book, found a publisher to fund their journey of adventure.
The only way to truly discover yourself is to lose yourself first. Who ever found something that was not lost? And the best way to get lost is to step out of comfort zones that hold us straitjacketed and try to discover something about the world around.
Young city couple, nine-to-fivers Devapriya Roy and Saurav Jha, jaded with their regular city-couple lifestyle, chucked their jobs and decided to undertake exactly such a transformational journey through India. Bubbling with excitement and enthusiasm, and keen to learn with an open mind and heart, they set out to get an insight into the hearts and minds of young India.
Is extreme budget travel the ultimate relationship test? Authors Devapriya Roy and Saurav Jha, a young married couple, certainly did not think of it in those terms when they set out on their epic journey across India way back in 2010, but their relationship did live to tell the tale (and the answer is ‘yes’). They were your average DINK couple, living in a Delhi barsati and working as writers when they decided to embark on this rather ambitious project: getting to know India in intimate detail; not just touching one or two cities along the way but really going everywhere. And then they made it tougher by deciding to do this on a budget of Rs 500 a day. It was supposed to be one book, then it became two, and finally, a trilogy. Because obviously you need three books to tell the story of getting to know this massive country (after all, JRR Tolkien didn’t wrap up The Lord of the Rings in one book, and Middle Earth is, let’s admit it, imaginary). In Bengaluru to talk about the first part of the trilogy, The Heat and Dust Project: The Broke Couple’s Guide to Bharat (on the stands now), Devapriya and Saurav managed to find time to answer questions on unusual book events, the safety of female travelers in India, and the idea of Bharat:
How in the daylights does one travel around India on a budget of ₹250 per person per day? This is almost like backpacking, an activity that remains unabashedly the exclusive domain of gora students and hippies. To see an Indian couple try it out, particularly in India, is certainly novel.
We’ve read travelogues. We’ve read travelogues about India. We’ve even read travelogues written by budget travellers. But the Heat and Dust Project, by Saurav Jha and Devapriya Roy, is like no travelogue we’ve ever seen.