Chai, Chai: 1 – Bishwanath Ghosh
Biswanath Ghosh paints an amazing and mystical picture in this book, where he starts his journey from the Itarsi Station, Madhya Pradesh.
Chai, Chai: Travels in Places Where You Stop But Never Get Off allows the reader to join the author-narrator while he experiences new places and faces. The beautiful sun, the rich cultural history and the people are all rendered with humor and love. One can almost feel the narrator going through the little lanes in Kanpur and then end up in Madras.
Whether one is drinking tea at a local café or sitting with numerous people in a local train, Ghosh breathes life into every moment. While speculating on life’s little moments, the author also realizes the amount of hours spent in waiting at railway junctions. The destinations are not just stations and stops for trains to drop commuters off. They represent a different life and a new adventure everyday.
There are little towns that people have never heard of which Ghosh talks extensively about such as Shoranpur, Arakkonam, Itarsi, Jhansi and Mughal Sarai. What makes this work unique is that these places are described in terms of the people encountered. Trains play an important role in bringing people from all parts of the country and all walks of life together. This is where the true story lies.
Ghosh enriches this story with various descriptions and personal insights. The book is witty, humorous and helps rediscover those areas of India which most have forgotten about due to commercial tourism. No matter how obscure a town maybe, it still holds a rich cultural history which Ghosh describes with avid details.