The lobby of Hotel Veer Rajput Palace, deluxe, is dimly lit and manned by two guys in identical green check sweaters, one reedy with a silver ear stud, one portly and balding, also with silver ear stud. The counter stretches like a redoubt around them. On one end is a small television set; it seems as though a righteous-cop film is playing.
On the eve of their eighth (ninth, S insists) anniversary, Saurav Jha and Devapriya Roy decided to heed the editor’s command and interview each other, around their book The Heat and Dust Project: The Broke Couple’s Guide to Bharat over sangria and dinner. The Heat and Dust Project is the first part of a trilogy, and chronicles eccentric adventures across India on a very very tight budget: Rs 500 a day.
The Heat and Dust Project: The Pilot, by Devapriya Roy and Saurav Jha, Harper-Collins, Non-fiction
This book could be subtitled Living Outside The Bubble. Devapriya Roy and Saurav Jha could have been your average high-thinking urban couple anchored in academics and scholarship and focussed on adding to the pool of public knowledge and entertainment with their books. However, they decided to live life a little differently, and to write about it. They set off on a mind- and body-changing journey across small-town India, setting themselves a constraint of spending no more than Rs 500 a day on bed and board. Their experiences are gathered in this book, which may well be the closest many of us will ever come to living the life that a large number of Indians do.