Book Review : Hot tea across India — By Rishad Saam Mehta

My first mail reached the editor of Writersmelon in minutes of my reading about this review program. I found it a great way to encourage people to read, write, and have their moment of publicity if their reviews are posted on the site. I am thankful to Writers melon and Westlandbooks for this opportunity. 

When I received Hot tea across India, I was thrilled for two reasons- one the book was a gift and second, I have my own share of stories with the “tea”. I am so fond of tea; my day feels incomplete if I hadn’t had one in the morning. When you travel to any part of India via trains or busses, you are awaken to the sounds of “chai..chai chai… “. There is no station where the chaiwalas will not aboard the train, selling the ubiquitous tea. The tea calls as varied as “madhya pradesh ke bhais ke doodh ki chai”, “garam ma garam chaiiiii chaii”, “chaiii kaaaaafi”. The start of this book presents a very similar argument ‘ If there is one certainty about roads in India, it is that – no matter where you are or what the hour is – if you want a cup of tea, you’ll find a chai ka dukaan within a few kilometers’.
Rishad Saam Mehta is an engineer turned photographer and travel writer. It is so inspiring to see a man take out time from mundane routines to make traveling his second occupation.
In very simple language, he describes the various people he meets on his escapades and presents the scenic beauty of the places he visits. The author customarily finds a cup of tea in all his adventures in the Himalayan ranges and places down south. He hilariously presents the problems encountered in his voyage. It would not do him justice if I fail to mention the obsession for his bullet, iconic 70’s vehicle. His account of getting the bike transferred by trains to the newest destinations he wants to visit is very enchanting. In addition, I could not help but laugh aloud at his experience of traveling together with goats on a bus to manali. The account of road side”dhabas” (food-joints) is a treat for any foodie. The vivid descriptions of his travels across the length and breath of India, from the valleys of Kashmir to the munnar in kerela, make one long for such an adventure.
The book had its moments; some stories captivate more than the others do. Most of his adventures are however predictable, and it makes one wonder whether all the accounts are true to happen to one individual.
If you want to have a light read, on a four-hour trip to somewhere, with a hot cup of tea in hand, this book is the one to have.
Happy Reading

— Harsha Vatnani 


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