Srinath Perur: If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai A Conducted Tour of India

Travel writing as a enre had never really interested me I am fairly certain that the numerous English Comprehension tests I wrote in school that featured extraordinarily tiresome pieces on places around the world are to blame After I passed out I d read very little travel writing and whatever I d read I found to be too introspective and unnecessarily Pinkalicious: Merry Pinkmas! geographical for my taste if not boring Through the years I managed to maintain the same distance one does with dull but well meaning uncles with it far but somewhat friendly So I suppose it was slightly out of character that I picked up Srinath Perur s If It s Monday It Must Be Madurai a collection of ten travel essays based wholly on conductedgroup tours the author has taken It was one of the essays Memorial For The Victims Of Repression which was published as an excerpt in the Open Magazine that initially piued my interest in the book The essay featured his participating in a conducted sex tour to Uzbekistan Perur as the self appointed fly on the wall among aroup of repressed Indian men is a joy to read What I particularly loved in that essay and as I would later find out the entire book was that he does not pass judgment on any of his travel companions He merely observes but his observations bear the kind of extreme sincerity that toes on sarcasm and delightfully so I laughed with this book in ways I have not laughed with a book in a very long time There are some paragraphs in his essay on a conducted tour of Rajasthan Desert Knowledge Camel College that are so hilarious that I read them a couple times for extra iggles The Grace of God an essay in which he describes his experience travelling across Tamil Nadu on a temple tour made me reminisce about my own family s seemingly never ending temple trips on which I was a very reluctant attendee In Saare Jahaan Se Accha he takes on Europe with his Desi tour roup Perur makes many earnest and thoroughly amusing observations about his Swing Sideways group s uniuely Indian characteristics However one stood out for me that of the the foresight of some of the members who had packed snacks and food from home The reason it did was because it brought back a rather stark memory from a trip my family made to Hong Kong in 2010 where we wandered around Ocean Park hungry we were vegetarians and finding vegetarian food in ocean park was akin to finding the proverbial needle in a literal haystack for close to an hour until we bumped into a family who were kind enough toive us the food they had packed from home for their trip Perur writes about taking a trip to the North East in According to Their Own Genius Reading the essay made me feel uite sad It seemed I was familiar with the places and culture discussed in the essay about Europe than I was about places in my own country Real India Santa Claus Aa Rahe Hai and The Same Water Everywhere were ood to read but Foreign Culture seemed a bit like a filler arrangement something that he wrote because he wanted a nice round number of essays in his book Incidentally Foreign Culture might just be the only essay among the ten where it seems the author actually had a holiday so you can t help but feel happy for him and his toddy induced stuporMy absolute favourite essay in the book was The Taste Of Sugar Perur undertakes a Wari the traditional walking pilgrimage to Pandarpur It is not often that you come across a piece of writing which balances being insightful and being side splittingly funny with as much race as this essayIn all I cannot recommend If It s Monday It Must Be Madurai enough Read it for the places he s travelled to but importantly read it for the people he s travelled with Travel books are often a compendium of clich s If the when to Dancing with Mr. Darcy go how to reach concerns are ever transcended it is the majestic beauty of the mountains or the vastness of the ocean that is tritely commented upon apparentlyranting solace to the writer who is trying to escape the hustle bustle of a megalopolis As if confronting the picturesue to escape the hectic life was all there was to travel If the book in uestion is sufficiently post modern in conception it will make a big deal of the virtues of traveling solo of backpacking on budget and so on Indeed travel as an exercise in self discovery is a hip notion these days But the fact ignored is that the seemingly simple problems of knowing oneself or coming to oneself or being at peace with oneself are lifelong metaphysical projects whose essence cannot be delivered in toto over a two week trip to Ladakh Travel in and of itself will not save us In fact if indeed it does provide something akin to solace and leads to a superior understanding of the self then precisely because such deliverances aren t permanent because life as it is must be returned to travelling can become an imprisoning habit making larger liberations difficult because of the tastings of smaller ratification. A delightful travel bookThis entertaining travelogue around ten conducted tours co.

Srinath Perur é 1 REVIEW

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Ritten in an ironic and funny way the places explored in the book are eually ood to the persons explored through itThe parts I enjoyed the most were the author s retrospect on some of the tours detailing on the people s motive and mindset during the tour in contrast to the observed aftereffects and how they fared in life in a few yearsVery much recommended I m Sharpes Trafalgar guilty of initially judging this book as just a uick summary of touristyroup tours the author had Punished gone on and was trying to make a uick buck with a book in the currently in subject of travel As the 10 chapters show the canvas is colourful the subjects even varied and I m delighted to be proved wrong1 The Grace of God is a temple hopping tour across Tamil Nadu with retiredovernment servants2 Saare Jahaan Se Accha is an escorted Europe tour with a Desi His To Protect group3 Desert Knowledge Camel College is a conducted tour of Rajasthan with a camel safari4 Foreign Culture is a cruise through the backwaters of Kerala with a smallroup of foreigners5 Memorial For The Victims Of Repression is a conducted sex tour to Uzbekistan among a roup of repressed Indian men6 Santa Claus Aa Rahe Hai is a slum porn tour of Dharavi7 According to Their Own Genius is a freewheeling tour of Assam and Meghalaya8 The Same Water Everywhere is a Kabir Yatra with folk musicians across Rajasthan9 Real India is about a walking tour of villages in Madhya Pradesh looking for local innovations and meeting people10 The Taste Of Sugar Perur undertakes a Wari the ancient walking pilgrimage to PandarpurGroup escorted tours are the bread and butter of India s tourism industry and operators spend hours in carefully designing the itinerary and the inclusions jamming in as much as possible to ensure the best paisa vasool for the customer Ironically conducted tours are also looked down as a very touristy thing that those travelling on them just want to check off it s just not travel And yet as this book shows there are reasons for travelling and it s not always about seeing sights and having local experiences It s also about wearing clothes you usually can t being with your spouse away from your joint family being in a place where you re not being judged or taking that first trip as a couple in 25 years of marriage which I think is a psychological validation of having finished their responsibilities and so can now indulge themselves this oncePerur is brilliant in being that proverbial fly on the wall observing without passing judgement remarking with amazing wit and insight often turning his aze inwards when looking out at the places he s travelling and the people he s travelling with The diversity in the tours means that there s enormous variety in both the experiences and in the travel companions entertaining and enlightening us with anecdotes personal stories and perspectives While the book is a delightful travelogue it s also thus a charming sociological portrait of India and her people Ten chapters of ten conducted tours that the author went on At least eight of those were an enjoyable read and a few in those were thought provoking too Off late I ve developed a liking towards travelogues by younger authors Samanth Subramaniam Haroon Khalid and now Srinath Perur Perhaps I related to them better Travel books Are they a thing now that most of the travel we re Babys First Christmas (Christmas Is For Kids) (Christmas Is For Kids) (Harlequin American Romances, 754) getting is between our living and bed rooms If you re open toroup tours and even open to the humour that s innate to escorted Ups, Kita Sudah Menikah? group tours I wholeheartedly recommend Srinath Perur s If It s Monday It Must Be Madurai A Conducted Tour of India Ten different places in its ten different chapters Perur touches upon the uirks of his co passengers as well as their different reasons for embarking upon conducted tours In this process there are occasions for jokes and introspection as the oneness of human nature hits you Through this journey I also started to realize that conducted tours are the bread and butter of India s tourism industry as operators spend hours in carefully designing the itinerary jamming in as much as possible to ensure the best bang for the buckpaisa vasool experience for the customer I first came to Europe through a conducted tour many years ago with my family and some memories that have stuck with me include Chanting Hanuman Chalisa each time weot onto the bus to ensure a safe journey eating Dal Chawal on the Swiss Alps and being chased away buy Pisa s shopkeepers for bargaining And this book encapsulated my bizarre memories from that trip beautifully The diversity in the tours as well as the people he s travelling with bring character and entertainment to his stories While the book stays true to being a delightful travelogue it is also a Catwoman great primer portrait of India and her people Recommended This was my secret Santaift I enjoyed reading this a lot Never did I felt bored reading this with healthy mix of details of people and place. The trail of Kabir; joining an ancient pilgrimage; and hunting for sex in Tashkent.

SThus it is problematic to conceive travel as that which leads to self enhancement and perhaps better to return to the less attractive idea of travel as an exercise in knowing the outer world If the traveller believes that knowing the world has a value in and of itself that subjecting herself to the objective world as it exists is a worthwhile activity then travel can be said to be approached in the right spirit And if in the process of assimilating realities that were hitherto unseen her self consciousness does experience an expansion then all the Baby Legacy (So Many Babies good One travel book that belittles clich s and stays clear of any dogma recent or modern about the virtues of travel is Srinath Perur s If It s Monday It Must Be Madurai A Conducted Tour of India The book published in 2014 is a collection of ten essays detailing travels undertaken by the author with ten uniueroups of people The roups are mostly composed of Indians and most travels are in India Perur travels to Tamilnadu s temples in buses full of retired overnment servants to Europe with a desi Langlais correct pour les Nuls group to Uzbekistan with aroup of sex tourists to Pandarpur on a pilgrimage called Wari and so on The essays are mostly journalistic so that the tone can be wry in the face of absurdity or reverent in the face of piety Perur narrates as someone who observes precisely to the degree that invites reflection On the rare occasions that Perur tells us what he felt in a Constantly Craving given scenario he has theood sense to break through the ironic veneer so that what is delivered seems like zen wisdom Recommended A most delightful travelogue Thoroughly enjoyed reading this My travel book binge this year continues with Srinath Perur s first a collection of travelogues about traveling in roups and I must say that I didn t come to it with any reat expectations And the first piece in the book sort of confirmed that for me I found the writing very ordinary the observations obvious and didn t feel the need to read But I persisted and felt the book Aryan Idols grow on me It took me a while toet used to the fact that the travel part in Perur s book is not about the places themselves but the people he was traveling with This is difficult for a reader like me to take because place as an idea is so important to me And that is why we read travelogues to et that sense of place writing can paint and evoke Just that this is a different kind of bookEnjoyable it certainly became as we o on to Uzbekistan and Aditya Chopra s Europe you smile and laugh at the travelers and their uirks You know them so well you know what they are Bourdieus Secret Admirer in the Caucasus going to do yet you enjoy it Though I can t for the life of me imagineoing on a conducted tour to a hill stationPerur s writing is understated It doesn t shout or Something in Return gather attention to itself it s just there He s a veryood storyteller but I still believe that some depth in the pieces would have made them substance There are several places in the book when he Byzantium gives you that little nudge that little push that makes you pause and smile But in the end the book is essentially about who we Indians are and become as we travel as we leave the comfort and familiarity of places we know and venture out together We reveal ourselves to be sometimes obnoxious sometimes carefree sometimes irritating sometimes plain stupid but always interesting travelers We re a complex layered people but the fact that so many of us choose to travel with others says something about us Like when in a bus in Europe we play Antakshari and always always sing Saare Jahan se Accha I remember that the first travelogue I read was Among the Believers An Islamic Journey by VS Naipaul to read a first hand account of life in Islamic countries Am a reluctant traveler but I keep picking up a travelogue now and then by famous authors like Theroux Iyer and others Almost all those authors had very sharp observation skills and secondly they all travelled alone In that sense this book by Srinath Perur is different from them all and kudos to him for thatTravelogue based on conducted tours Did I read it correctly The 10 conducted tours were different and the author has managed to turn something as mundane and seemingly boring as bus trips into very entertaining and insightful episodes The writing style and vocabulary is just right not superficial and not pretentious but the author puts across his views honestly and humblyThe chapters on the first 6 7 tours were tooood and this seemed to be heading for a 55 rating Worth a read Full on entertainiment A travelogue on ten conducted tours with different Indian roups1 Tamil temples package2 Europe famous spots3 Deserts of Rajasthan4 Kerala backwaters5 Sex starved tourists for Uzbekistan6 Slum tourism of Mumbai7 Journeys with Meaning tour of North East8 Musical trail of Kabir through MP Rajasthan Gujarat UP Pakistan9 Village life innovations through Madhya Pradesh10 Traditional Wari walk of MaharasthraW. Ntains myriad riches of hanging on to a camel in the Thar; rediscovering music on.

If It's Monday It Must Be Madurai and the translator of