India (that is Bharat) is an incredible country. You can find diversity in almost all the aspects here; be it about landmarks, culture, cuisine, wildlife, people, caste, religion,…, the list is longer than anyone can imagine. The tapestry of all these diversities is weaved so fantastically that it is known for its unity.
The population and geography of many Indian states are more than that of many countries. And yes it has the longest survived civilization where cities like Varanasi (aka Banaras) has a history of thousands of years!
Living in such a versatile country is a unique experience. So does traveling within. Recently we got a chance to read “Yeh! Hai India” a book with the tagline “I Love My India” by Anuj Tikku, a travel blogger from India. The book is provided by the author himself. The views presented below are uninfluenced and unbiased by all means.
|Book Title||:||Yeh! Hai INDIA
Tagline: I Love My India
|Publishers||:||Self Published (May 2019)|
|# of Pages||:||4103 KB 216(Kindle EBook)|
One shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but no one can deny the influence of a book cover in purchase and/or read decisions :).
The cover page of “Yeh! Hai India” is quite colorful and attractive at first glance. This color combination actually represents the motto of “unity in diversity” in quite an effective manner. An impressive cover page which will motivate people to go for the book. Of course, the book price and other factors will play their role.
A book with an impressive cover but nothing significant within will give the buyer a feeling of being cheated.
“Yeh! Mera India” starts with the author’s vision behind curating a few of his blog articles in the format of the book. In his own words:
The more I travelled within India the more I realized how blessed I was to live in such a vibrant country, so many colors so many religious beliefs, faiths, customs and ideologies.
India is so versatile in many aspects that even a lifetime is not enough to absorb all of its beats. Travel bloggers can thus be considered as lucky fellows who got to explore the culture and customs of people living in different segments of the country while doing their job and keep earning money also.
Living a nomad like life while on travel is the best way to explore it. The travel experience will make you wiser and the philosophy of life doesn’t seem tough to understand and absorb. So, you come across lines like:
Sometimes one needs to let go and let the place take you by surprise in its stride.
The author didn’t get a chance to travel entire India yet but he is able to explore more than 50% of the same. And, he genuinely shares his real experiences only. The book is nicely segmented into blocks where articles belong to the same region/state are grouped together. The articles, however, are haphazardly arranged.
Those who read blogs know that the content of a blog is arranged in the descending order of dates. It helps the readers to get the latest posts easily. However, when you arrange the posts in the form of the book, the things should be arranged in the ascending order of dates, so a reader can explore the journey from “beginning to end” in a linear manner. The book fails in re-arranging the articles in that way. And, it is the downside of the book.
There are so many spelling mistakes and proofreading errors in the book that despite having good things to tell, it doesn’t convey it effectively. Here are some of the examples:
- Space before closing punctuation marks
- Us of “where” instead of “were”
- Palki’s instead of Palkis
- cress-crossed instead of crisscrossed
- Is-lands instead of islands
- dharshan instead of darshan
It seems spelling and grammar check along with autocorrect facility of MS-Word is run on the entire content blindly. It makes some really fantastic pieces of writing fail to impress, like:
Some times it feels free to be lost in anew city you can just loosev yourself and sense of time you and your thoughts they are all that one needs for company.
Talking about all the articles from the book will contain a lot of spoilers and it will affect your reading experience. Let me share only a few of them.
The author’s experiences in Varanasi are nicely elaborated. The city is not just made up of roads, buildings, temples, and ghats. It is a culture and the spirit of the ancient most survived civilization is there. The author concludes it in really nice words:
It forces you to see beyond the obvious. Varanasi removes the foils and fixtures that clog our mind. It opens the soul for one to see deep inside But it’s not for everyone, it’s for the pupil to be compatible, the guru in Varanasi is open source.
The way the book talks about various ghats and their history is also interesting. For almost all the places covered in the book, the author tries to provide the background knowledge, legends, and historical details; and it works in favor of the book.
The chapter “India and the Holy Cow” is also an interesting read. The chapter is well balanced. Here the author shows the importance of Cows in the civilization and also covers the mayhem created by “wandering on road” animals both.
Only in India an animal and man have formed such deep bond of love, reverence and friendship.
It is dishearting to read about the author’s experiences in Tirupati. His experiences of not getting prasadam for not having money or finding money can buy you priority in taking a glance to the God’s idol pinpoints the area where we need to improve. Without accepting the limitations one cannot overcome them. And, the original Indian culture is all about questing the things to get to the root of the cause and overcome it by solving the problem. It makes a civilzation better. Here are some of the quotes from this chapter:
Not only that, the proverb that, the proverb that “money can buy anything” hold true in this temple.
— — — — — —
From VIP dharshans so special passes and entries, the rich can get to see, feel and reach God here in their own express ways while all of us mortals have to wait in a 5-hour queue fighting, jostling andeven hitting each other with bare fists as our line moved at a snails’s pace. All these for what? To see the idol for only 5 seconds.
— — — — — —
The common man and his suffering. It seems even the Lord smiles on the rich here and the poor have to go empty-handed, which is strange because it is the poor and the common folk who need the blessing of the Lord the most and they are kind of deprived of it here at times.
The author pays a tribute to Mumbai’s police officer Himanshu Roy. The original article seems to have published around the time when this respected cop committed suicide. The author has had a personal interaction with the cop and Late Himanshu Roy made a positive impression on the author. A well-deserved tribute.
The articles about Hyderabad, Bangalore, Shimla, Chail, Chittorgarh, Tigergarh and Mumbai stands out among others. They give you a chance to explore the places in quite a unique way. The way the author penned down the articles in the first person with a personal touch is the unique quality of the book.
The way the author explores the lives of people living in or around the Jungle, the hard work they are doing to meet the ends, and despite all these, the way they enjoy their lives is something we all should learn. Author’s sneak pick into the local trains of Mumbai is something you shouldn’t miss reading.
The author’s love for non-veg food, his drinking, and smoking habits are explored at too many places in the book. A reader may not like it, especially the one who is a pure vegetarian. And of course, smoking and drinking are not good for health as well. It, however, balances, when the author shares his experiences of living at naturopathy centers and how keeping himself away from all these stuff and indulging into meditation and Yoga, makes him feel better. This, if you can read with an open mind, is a learning lesson.
One needs to treat his/her body as a temple, as it is the primary and only resource live a life.
Talking about India and not talking about Cricket and Movies? Not possible! Yes, in the book you find references to various films and cricket matches as well.
The author’s personal experiences with various travel related websites, banks and the privilege cards they offer, various local hotels and food zones, the actual services the hotels offer, should be read carefully. This information will help you plan your tours better.
The book is really a good resource to explore India in many aspects. Still, the book has a lot of scope of improvement in terms of literary aspects.
I will give it around 6.5 to 7 stars out of 10.
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