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Meet the Author : Around India in 80 Trains

Monisha Rajesh

If you have ever travelled around India or are just curious about India. If you have ever travelled by train or just curious about trains and people who travel in trains then this will be a treat for you.

Monisha Rajesh is a young journalist who has written for The Guardian, TIME magazine and The New York Times. She embarked on 4 months journey covering 40,000km of Indian railway track.

“As one of the largest civilian employers in the world, featuring luxury trains, toy trains, Mumbai's infamous commuter trains and even a hospital on wheels, Indian Railways had more than a few stories to tell. On the way, Monisha met a colourful cast of characters with epic stories of their own. But with a self-confessed militant atheist as her photographer, Monisha's personal journey around a country built on religion was not quite what she bargained for… Around India in 80 Trains is a story of adventure and drama
infused with sparkling wit and humour”

The Author has kindly agreed to spend the Sunday Afternoon discussing the book, writing, India, travel, trains and about writing a book about travelling by train in India.

The meet-up will be of the usual Meet-the-Author format. We will start with a Q&A about the book and the author followed by a discussion/debate on India, travel and trains.


Here are some extracts from the book reviews on GoodReads

“It is a refreshing account of a British woman of Indian origin in her late twenties seeking out the country she felt remotely belonged to, in a span of four months through 80 trains, covering a large part of India with her travel buddy who she has chosen to refer to as
only Passepartout, the French word for ‘all-purpose’”.

“The tone of the account is for the most parts charming, peppered with bits of history thrown in by her fellow travellers, punctuated by her own moods ranging from bliss and excitement to moments of frustration and agony. Despite not possessing the depth that has the power to turn it into a mesmerizing travelogue, in itself, as a memoir, it is interesting”.

“Even though the author herself seems to deride the terms, this book reads like poverty tourism/poverty porn. The first half of the book is simply filled with negative descriptions of everything. Things are too filthy, too smelly, too corrupt, too uncivilised, etc. etc. All the ordinary Indian passengers she meets are physically or culturally demeaned: they are
either always snoring, spitting, gargling, sniggering, looking at her wrongly, touching her, squeezing her bottom, etc. And of course, they all have bad accents which are italicised for our benefit. “

“A beautifully written travelogue that engages you right from the start! Monisha's writing is witty and fresh with a sense of humour that sinks in well, making the entire mood of the book extremely enjoyable to read. The idea of discovering through 80 trains is absolutely innovative and caught my attention as I had never heard of anyone who had undertaken such a journey before!

The book manages to give you a glimpse of different aspects of the country, right from the most important one being the "Indian Railways", to the food, the culture, religion, the beliefs and mentality of the people that the author came across in different regions of India and throughout those myriad train journeys.”

For more details about the Author , her writing and her blog check out her website

And her is a review of the book from Telegraph.

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  • Jessie H.

    Superbly organised,fun,and instructive.Thank you to everybody who
    Organised such a lovely day out

    December 2, 2013

  • Sanjoy D.

    Thanks Vineet for all the effort to organise the event.

    December 1, 2013

  • Peter L.

    an excellent event!

    December 1, 2013

  • ramesh r

    Sorry vineet, down with a cold.. Can't make it today

    December 1, 2013

  • Jennie

    Hi Vineet, I'm actually bringing 3 guests and we're all coming for dinner. ....

    November 28, 2013

    • Jennie

      Hi Vineet, quick update. ...4 of us are coming for the reading but only 2 for dinner. Hope that's ok!

      December 1, 2013

    • Vineet

      That's fine Jennie.See you (all 4 of you) in a few hours .

      December 1, 2013

  • Vinita

    Hi Vineet will join for Ragam.

    November 29, 2013

  • Sabina

    Hi Vineet, I'd love to have made Sunday's event, but have a prior engagement in Richmond. Are you guys going for food afterwards? If so keep me posted and if I can make it across town in time, I'd love to join. If not, I hope to make the next event. :)

    November 28, 2013

    • Vineet

      Sabina planning to go for dinner to a place called Ragam . 57 Cleveland Street W1T 4JN. Booking is from 6:30 pm. Hope to see you there.

      1 · November 28, 2013

  • sean

    I just missed the connecting train to Bangalore, could be late on Sunday.

    November 27, 2013

  • Vinita

    Really a great read, I'm thoroughly enjoying. Very witty and looking forward to the event.

    November 24, 2013

  • Jennie

    I am LOVING the book! Brings back some brilliant memories and inspiring me to create more. Now bringing some guests too :-)

    1 · November 24, 2013

  • Ravi D.

    Good to know the travel experience in India , something I always wanted to do !

    1 · November 17, 2013

  • Mariam

    So gutted! Was really excited to come ... and then realized I won't be back from Paris in time on that Sunday. Any chance you'll be doing dinner afterwards??

    November 2, 2013

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