Tata McGraw Hill Education Private Limited
I found reviewing any book becomes more interesting if one attends its launch as well. But here was an invite which mentioned the title of the book and that the author would do a ‘Book Reading.’ Since the title appealed to me I decided to attend the event. Thankfully Ram Sehgal chose not to read from his book but to relive his experiences across cities, countries, people and cultures during his travels over a period of 40 years. He could hold the attention of the small group throughout with his lively narration and touch of humour.
The first chapter opens with the author’s experience with Taxi Drivers of whom he says, ‘You could probably tell the character of a country by your first interaction with a taxi driver at airports or at train stations.’ He was happy with the taxi driver in Prague who he says had turned himself into a guide explaining about the places on the way to his destination. Impressed by the man’s enthusiasm and courtesy he paid him five dollars over the metre fare.
His experience with a taxi driver in Tokyo who paid for his ignorance won great admiration by Sehgal for the Japanese value system whereas the behavior and moods of this tribe in New York presented a contrast: ‘It seemed to me that they hate their profession and hate people who do not give them better jobs. I read a poster in a taxi, driving from the airport, which said,
1.Driver speaks no English.
2.Arrived two days ago from Senegal.
3.Driver Hates you.
I t was too late to get out.’
Taxi drivers in Paris appeared a lot like their Indian counterparts.
In the next chapter the author relates his experience of staying in hotels in different countries and is all praise for the G.M. of a hotel in Moscow, for coming to his aid in resolving an issue.
The succeeding chapters talk of Airlines, Airports and Cruises. Sehgal thinks Emirates airways is the best and Changi Terminal fascinating.
He thinks Cruises are an exciting alternative to planes.
Back home, Sehgal seems to love Bombay among all the cities as it does not judge its people.
A good and engaging read on a journey by any means of transport.
n.meera raghavendra rao