Adi's Journal

Pieces of my thourhgs

Fascinating Stories about Bike Rides and Chai

Us Indians, in general, are addicted to our Chai. Though personally, Coffee is my drink of choice, I can understand and feel the love we share for Chai. And when it come to travel, tea is a better companion while sharing stories on when you meet strangers on roadside redi, katta, tapri or thela.

Just imagine, you are on road riding a bike for a hundred odd kilometer. Sun is just about to set and you feel that urge to grab that refreshing cup of chai and get back on the road again. Right then you spot a road side place which is obvious looking chai stall. You pull your bike to the side, get down and remove your helmet. Aroma of ever-boiling tea is filling the air. There are stacks of Kulhads or small glasses on the counter. Soon you have a steaming glass in your hands. You take the first sip of hot chai and fatigue is gone. And then you look around for a companion to share some stories around you. ‘Hot Tea Across India’ is full of such stories.

What to expect from this?

Rishad Saam Mehta has travelled extensively across India on his bike and has gathered these fantastic experiences, stories about nature, people and his interactions with them. His narration and storytelling is so fluid and unique. The stories he tells will remain with you for a long time.

When he tells a story about his Himalayan travels, he paints a wonderful picture of those beautiful mountains, rivers and curvy roads. Nature out there is very gorgeous. You can really see it through his words. However, he also tells you that if you ignore the signs of mother nature. Her forces will hit you so hard that you wouldn’t even know what has hit you. He also takes you to Rann of Kutch. There he had shifted to steering wheel from handle bar and taken his four wheels to do all the crazy driving tricks you can for one assignment.

There are some crazy adventures on rides too. Rishad makes you believe that anything can and will happen when you are on the road, some local thug can make you run away with fear of losing your bike to his son in so-called ‘fair trade’ offer, or some anarchist trying to prove their point in local ‘bandh’ by asking you ‘Please can we burn your car?’. But there are many good people out there who make your trip memorable. He found interesting persons to show him around magnificent temples of Khajuraho, or to take in the times of Rana’s of Jaisalmer.

Food is also an important aspect of the travels. He narrates about the delicacies he tasted at places where he had least expected. Let it be some house-boat in Kashmir or some roadside ‘dhaba’ on legendary Grand Trunk Road. Or even some native nomads ask you to join them for a meal or help you to cook some of their traditional recipes.

From the blurb

On Rishad Saam Mehta’s journeys — and as a travel writer and all-round road-trip junkie, he’s been on many — there’s a particular thing he noticed. There’s not a highway, road or dirt track in India where you can’t find a cup of chai whenever you want it. And with those cuppas come encounters and incidents that make travelling in India a fascinating adventure. In this riveting book, which includes stories of honey- and saffron-infused tea shared with a shepherd in Kashmir, and a strong brew that revives the author after almost getting lynched by an irate mob in Kerala, Rishad takes you across the length and breadth of India, from Manali to Munnar, from the Rann of Kutch to Khajuraho, with a wonderful combination of wit, sensitivity and insight.

About the book

  • Book Name: Hot Tea Across India
  • Publisher: Westland Publications Ltd.
  • ISBN: 9789381626108
  • Length: 192 pages
  • MRP: ₹ 350.00

My Ratings

Story-line: 3.5/5
Writing Style: 3/5
Cover: 4.5/5

Overall Rating 4/5

Where to get your copy

Book is currently unavailable online. Try the bookstores near you.

Should you read it?

If tea, travel and adventure is your calling, you won’t put this book down till you finish reading it. Rishad’s stories as fantastic and gripping.

This post is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z 2023. For more about my views on books, click here.

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