A decade and some ago, in the middle of pouring rains and gathering relatives, we marry. We have known each other for five years, surviving Presidency College and Jawaharlal Nehru University together, and are, as might well be apparent, young and foolish.
In our defence, we don’t know that.
How many times have you sworn you’ll just quit the job and travel but never really got around to taking the plunge? Here’s a young Calcutta couple who did — and survived to tell the tale. The first part of their ambitious journey was recently published as The Heat and Dust Project: The Broke Couple’s Guide to Bharat (HarperCollins India, Rs 250). Over cold coffee, former Presidency College students Devapriya Roy, 31, and Saurav Jha, 32, tell t2 about quitting their Delhi jobs and staking their marriage on the road.
Devapriya Roy and Saurav Jha like to make impetuous decisions, plunge headfirst into a reckless idea and stick by it, through thick and thin, or in this case, through heat and dust.
Part One of their travel trilogy based on a India tour on a shoe-string budget – Rs 500 a day to be precise – was launched at Starmark, South City Mall, this week. Speaking about The Heat and Dust Project or “the broke couple’s guide to Bharat”, Devapriya admitted that the two got married just as hastily as they decided to give up stable jobs and hit the road to see India.
The Telegraph: One of your best memories from the road trip?
Devapriya: In Barmer, our autowallah Ramaram Mali invited us to have dinner with him. He has a house on the outskirts of Barmer. The interesting thing is that after oil was discovered in the area, all these companies have come in and whoever owns a house there has come into good money because rents have shot up.
Saurav: Even Ramaram has rented out parts of his house to executives from the oil companies. And, you know, one can sense he’s come up in the world. Now he stocks McDowell’s and says ‘Yeh vilayti sharaab hai!
Devapriya: It started raining and Ramaram said this wonderful thing — when meh and mehmaan come together, it’s a good thing. Meh meaning clouds, mehmaan meaning guest.
Two Presidency kids put their life, limb and marriage at stake as they quit their jobs to travel to the heart of India that is Bharat. Living on a very, very tight budget — around Rs 500 for bed and board a day — they journeyed across changing landscapes and seasons, meeting a bunch of endearing if eccentric characters and encountering every kind of Indian story possible: mythological, ghostly, moving, true life and highly exaggerated.
Release date: May 15.