I was intrigued by the title and for once completed the 200 odd pages almost in one sitting with short breaks of course. I was not able to decide which of the two failed to arouse my interest, the places the author visited or the people he met during his travels.
Ghosh has covered the big and small towns, Mughal Sarai, Jhansi , Itarsi in the North and Guntakal, Arkonam, Jolarpettai and Shoranur in the South and he goes into details not so much about what the places have to offer to a travel lover to lure him to these but manages to put him off by dwelling on the seamy side of them. We come to know more about the food and drink he has consumed which leaves one with the impression that how important a bottle of whisky is to inspire a journalist to write his story.
The redeeming feature however is his style and sense of humour which comes through in some of the experiences he relates. The book should have been titled Chai,Coffee because in the South you hear Coffee,Coffee more than Chai,Chai when the trains steam into stations.
n.meera raghavendra rao