Around India in 80 trains. Monisha Rajesh geboren in een Indiase familie in Norfolk Engeland. Ze gaat terug naar haar 'roots'. Reist door heel India met alle soorten van treinen en raakt in gesprek met Maharajas, Siks, controleurs en riksjarijders op vakantie en allemaal vragen ze of ze al getrouwd is. Ze reist met een man die fotograaf is maar waarvan we geen enkele foto in het boek tegenkomen. Het is een echt Brits boek. Met veel humor, veel understatement en veel .... treinen. Treinen die in dit boek bijna personages worden. Around India in 80 trains is een BESTSELLER in Engeland. Kijk hieronder voor een bevlogen recensie in The Telegraph. En ook William Dalrymple vindt dat dit boek dit boek een aanrader.Around India in 80 Trains by Monisha Rajesh
: Review in The Telegraph.
Monisha Rajesh's 'Around India in 80 Trains' is a tale of freedom and frustration on India’s railways
"Pigeonholing in India is futile,” Monisha Rajesh reminds us. “For every rule there are 100 exceptions.” This beautifully written book about two of India’s greatest assets – its people and its railways – thrives on those exceptions.
Rajesh set out in 2009 to reconnect with her Indian roots. The result is a witty and insightful traveller’s-eye view of the country from inside its railway network. It is also an account of a life-shaping journey.
Accompanied by a photographer friend (dubbed “Passepartout”), Rajesh criss-crosses Indian Rail’s “geographical diamond”, experiencing all its freedoms and frustrations while enduring endless inquiries as to her marital status. An assortment of mustachioed maharajas, wicked wedding crashers, pinstriped Sikhs, indignant inspectors, spotty know-it-alls in Che Guevara T-shirts and crafty rickshaw drivers bursts from the pages. The trains themselves become characters: the Deccan Queen (a “Blue-eyed Babe” built in the Thirties); the “Lifeline Express”, a mobile hospital that takes doctors to the people of rural India; the super-fast Shatabdis and Durontos revolutionising the network.
Along the way, Rajesh has ample time for thinking, reflecting and arguing with her interlocutors. Some stereotypes are reinforced (“Indians love a good monologue”); others are robustly challenged (the grungy Western travellers who act as India’s “poverty tourist board” come in for particular opprobrium). Nor does she shy away from difficult topics like corruption and the Indian obsession with face-whitening creams.
She also explores a deeper question: how does it feel to be a second generation emigrant returning to a motherland that is changing out of all recognition? She admits to passing Norman Tebbit’s infamous “test” (she supports England in cricket games against India), and almost apologetically confesses “India is the only place I feel a foreigner”.
Under an onslaught from the “militant atheist” Passepartout, she starts to question the validity of her own assumptions about Hinduism. Everything comes to a head when Rajesh is turned away from the “Hindus Only” section of the Jagannath Temple in Puri. “The roots had finally been torn up,” she writes.
All of this is done with the lightest of touches and a dry wit. There are laugh-out-loud moments at which seasoned and fresh Indian travellers will cringe with recognition: male snoring on the trains; the drastic effects of the Imodium pill; 87 very good reasons why you should never eat Indian bacon. This excellent debut will stand the test of time. Just like India’s railways.
Around India in 80 trains. Monisha Rajesh, Engelstalig, (2012)
India, Azië, Azie