26 July, 2021

No Accidental Tourists..

...Just meritorious raconteurs documenting the travel experience

Prashant Panjiar
No Accidental Tourists..
Whether it be the frigid wastes of Antarctica or the come-hither beckoning of the next-door-neighbour's wife, the lure of foreign parts arouses in the traveller a sense of wonder just as surely as it creates trepidation in the stationary citizen. The travel experience has been described as "wealth no government can take away" and a good anthology of travellers' findings from India should add to the reader's understanding of the subcontinent's "colossal diversities," as Dom Moraes puts it.

Penguin has cast its net wide to reveal India "like this only" in a kaleidoscopic coverage of scenic and sore spots, some of which promise to be collide-oscopic with disastrous effect on our enormous tourist potential. Some 35 essays roam at random (missing out on cricket and Kashmir) penned by some of the biggest names in the business. But it is not the Naipauls, the Rushdies, the Dalrymples or the Therouxes that stand out since most of their stuff is old hat. It is the quality of Indian writing that shines through and M.J. Akbar, P. Sainath, Vijay Nambisan and Jerry Pinto...

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