Around India in 80 Trains

Overview

To understand India you have to see it, hear it, breathe it and feel it. Living through the good, the bad and the ugly is the only way to know where you fit in and where India fits into you. In 1991 Monisha uprooted from England to Madras in the hope of making India her home. But fed up with soap-eating rats, severed human heads, paying bribes, and the creepy colonel across the road, she returned to England with a bitter taste in her mouth. But twenty years later, she turns to a map of the Indian Railways and ...
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Around India in 80 Trains

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Overview

To understand India you have to see it, hear it, breathe it and feel it. Living through the good, the bad and the ugly is the only way to know where you fit in and where India fits into you. In 1991 Monisha uprooted from England to Madras in the hope of making India her home. But fed up with soap-eating rats, severed human heads, paying bribes, and the creepy colonel across the road, she returned to England with a bitter taste in her mouth. But twenty years later, she turns to a map of the Indian Railways and takes a page out of Jules Verne's classic tale, embarking on an adventure around India in 80 trains, covering 40,000km the circumference of the Earth. Indian trains carry over twenty million passengers every day, plowing through cities, crawling past villages, climbing up mountains and skimming along coasts. Monisha hopes that 80 train journeys up, down and across India will lift the veil on a country that has become a stranger to her. As one of the largest civilian employers in the world, featuring luxury trains, toy trains, Mumbai s infamous commuter trains, and even a hospital on wheels, Indian Railways has more than a few stories to tell, not to mention a colorful cast of characters. And with a self-confessed militant devout atheist in tow, her personal journey around a country built on religion isn't quite what she bargained for...
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Editorial Reviews

Giles Foden
"A promising debut from a writer to watch.I am stung with jealousy, not just for the epic journey she makes rediscovering her Indian heritage – on ordinary trains, luxury trains, Mumbai's packed commuter trains, even a toy train – but just for the talismanic power of such a ticket: the idea that you could have one in your hand tomorrow and just go!" - Giles Foden, Condé Nast Traveller
From the Publisher
"This beautifully written book, a witty and insightful traveller's-eye view of the country from inside its rail network. It is also an account of a life-shaping journey. 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... all of this is done with the lightest of touches and a dry wit...This excellent debut will stand the test of time. Just like India's railways."
- The Sunday Telegraph

One of 2012's Books of the Year: "A wonderfully wry and witty debut. Crackles and sparks with life like an exploding box of Diwali fireworks." - William Dalrymple, author of The Last Mughal

"One can only envy Monisha Rajesh as she embarks on this epic journey through the vast tangle and bewildering extension of India's railways. The ticketing bureaucracy is mad, the travelling companions infinitely varied, the pleasure, discomforts and revelations such that she is guaranteed what even the wriest and most sceptical traveller yearns for: some deeper knowledge of oneself." - Tim Parks, travel writer and Booker Prize nominee

"I love train trips and I love travelling around India. If you do too, then this book is a wonderful companion" -- Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting

Giles Coren
"A great big lovely shambling train ride of a book, offering wonderful views, hilarious interludes, all sorts of dodgy characters and some very peculiar smells, all for one ticket.” -Giles Coren, bestselling author and The Times columnist
The Sunday Telegraph
This beautifully written book, a witty and insightful traveller's-eye view of the country from inside its rail network. It is also an account of a life-shaping journey. 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... all of this is done with the lightest of touches and a dry wit...This excellent debut will stand the test of time. Just like India's railways.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781857885958
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/16/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 504,957
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Monisha Rajesh is a London-based journalist. Since graduating from City University's journalism school she has worked on the features desk of the London Evening Standard and written for Conde Nast Traveller, the Telegraph, the Guardian and TIME magazine.
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Table of Contents

Prologue xiii

1 All Aboard the Insomnia Express 1

2 Guantanamo Chic and the Perils of Wearing Shoes 12

3 A Royal Affair 24

4 'Excuse Me Darling, I Have a Message for You' 36

5 Hindus Only Allowed 47

6 Super-dense Crush Load 60

7 Sexual Healing 70

8 The Crazy White Man in the Cupboard 82

9 Sunburn and Spasms 93

10 Oh My Dog! 104

11 The Venus Flytrap of Insanity 118

12 Toy Trains and Afternoon Tea 127

13 City of Gins 141

14 Monty Python at the Wagah Border 152

15 Silk Sheets and a Wad of Human Hair 166

16 God Bless the NHS! 178

17 A Taste of Rocky Road Ice Cream 190

18 Bullets over Brahmaputra 203

19 The Temple of Doom 213

20 Losing My Religion 222

21 Answered Prayers 233

Snakes and Ladders 241

Glossary 243

Acknowledgements 247

About the Author 249

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