India, the land of rich cultural heritage has had many patrons falling for its vivid lifestyles and landscapes. Here are 8 engaging and compelling books that beautifully capture the true essence of India.
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:
JAIPUR: When Devapriya Roy and Saurav Jha were bored with their married life, they hit upon an ‘insane’ idea – they packed their bags and went out to write later a book on travel. And stretching their insanity bit further, they put on a budget embargo – Rs 500 a day for bed and board. And off they were on their ‘transformational’ journey. The duo acknowledged that if travelling in only buses for the book was hard, writing about it was harder.
Post a road trip that turned out to be, among other things, a litmus test for their love, a couple offers advice-for-two
When Devapriya Roy (30) and Saurav Jha (32) decided to plan a trip on a budget of Rs 500 a day to see the `real’ India, their folks expressed concerns about heartburn and heat stroke. Regardless, the duo took on a transformational journey of self-discovery, adventure and Bharat darshan. Somewhere in between the heat, dust and madness of cramped buses, filthy loos, dubious hotels and irrational craving for cake, they achieved more than what they bargained for. And there was a fair bit of bargaining.
A: An A to Z Guide
Offering quirky, odd, mostly accurate, somewhat useful information curated by a broke couple who travelled across India on a very, very tight budget to write a book and lived to tell the tale.
If, like Marie Antoinette (and at least one-half of the broke couple) you believe that when people can’t have bread they should eat cake, you can pitch your tent at the German Bakeries. These are found in all hippie quarters – whether Jaisalmer, Rishikesh or our very own Paharganj in New Delhi – and sell their ubiquitous chocolate cake by the kilo.But, intrepid traveller that you are, you ought to hunt out local options too. The broke couple discovered roadside tea-stalls in Kerala and Tamil Nadu offering slices of soft homey sponge cakes made with Dalda and kept in glass jars (a cake by any other name is also cake), and in the Main Bazaar in Pushkar, a jugaadu gentleman ran a unique mobile cake shop on a cart called `New Chandra Bakery’. It offered a range of delicacies, the most original of which was the coffee-chikoo cake.