Tag Archives: journeys

Book Review: Hot Tea Across India by Rishad Saam Mehta

Title: Hot Tea Across India
Author: Rishad Saam Mehta
Publisher: Tranquebar Press
ISBN: 978-93-81626-10-8
Genre: Travelogue, Non-Fiction
Pages: 191
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3/5

A travelogue according to me is the most difficult to write. How can one capture images, beauty, and memories in a book? How much would it take to conjure every detail on the trips that you have made and the people you have met? I always marvel at the skill of writers who accomplish writing a travelogue to the smallest details. I started reading, “Hot Tea across India” on a cold night in December and it was a great experience.

I have always been wary of travelogues written by Indian writers, not for anything else, but for the fact that I feel the details are missing most of the time. So I started this one with trepidation, however all my fears were laid to rest.

Hot Tea across India is a book about tea all over the lay of the country. It is about the author’s obsession with travelling on his Bullet and otherwise and exploring lands, and while doing so drinking tea as he and his friends go along journeys over periods of time. Tea is something which is available anywhere in India. It is almost the staple or national drink of the sub-continent and it is around this that the author weaves his travelogue. Tea as tasted across his journeys. From Manali to Rajasthan to Delhi to Mumbai. The experiences are varied and brilliantly accounted for in this book.

Rishad Saam Mehta was working with Autocar India and it is through them that he took to writing and photography. The pieces are well-written, though not all talk about tea and that’s what one will expect, given the title. At the same time, the writing is very good, especially when Mehta describes scenery and breathtaking Himalayan ranges as he is riding past them or setting camp. My favourite chapters in the book were about food – what is available on the highway roadside eateries to what can be cooked by strangers who become acquaintances and then friends.

Throughout the book, I wondered how good it would be if the book could be substantiated with pictures. That would be a reader’s delight. All in all Hot Tea across India was a good reading experience to start off the year.

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Entrepreneur Journeys by Sramana Mitra

Alright, I am not the sort of person who reads any books on management, let alone training (which is my core profession). Till date at least I have not read a single management book and was not interested either till I lay my hands on “Entrepreneur Journeys” by Sramana Mitra. I have always like I said had this aversion to management books and I never knew why. May be it was the way they were written. Always trying to force ideas down my throat and not willing to listen to my viewpoint. (well, wonder if they ever will?). Peter Drucker and the likes of him with Edward de Bono and his thinking hats could not make juggle towards their concepts.

So what made me read Sramana’s book? Well to start with it was plainly written or rather it is. It says how it is, without any frills. It makes you learn from other’s experiences which makes sense and yet at the same time wants you to go ahead and take that risk to be able to make something of your life. For instance, I am at such a crossroads in my career right now that I am asking myself the same questions: Am I doing the right thing with my life? Was I cut out to do this? Can I do something better? Am I capable of starting out on my own?

And that’s what “Entrepreneur Journeys” makes you do – learn from twelve unique journeys of twelve unique entrepreneurs. Their ups and downs – and what it takes to get to the top or bottom (in some cases). It is about their experiences which Sramana brings out very well by using her insightful interviewing technique and thus making them confide their fears, hopes, passions, worries, and inspirations which have driven their ventures.

I felt like I was learning directly from the masters and I did. I would highly recommend this book to managers in organizations (like myself) who want to maintain an entrepreneurial culture as they grow or anyone concerned about global business issues.