Heads in the Pictures
- Australia 79/4, India vs Australia Live Cricket Score and Updates, 2nd Test: Match heads towards exciting finish
- Fisherman shot dead by Sri Lankan navy, protests break out in Tamil Nadu
- Extremist elements also active in India: US travel advisory for its citizens
- Donald Trump signs revised executive order banning travellers from six Muslim-majority nations
- Campaign ends for last phase of voting: Ground falls silent, now it’s up in the air
If It's Monday, It Must be Madurai : A Conducted Tour of India
Author: Srinath Perur
Price: Rs 499
To go somewhere, and then write about it for people back home is as old as humanity. One of the first travelogues was Coryat's Crudities by one Thomas Coryat whom Wikipedia defines as a "mild eccentric". Subtitled Hastily gobled up in Five Moneth's Travels", it described a jaunt through Europe and was a smash hit with the paying public in 1611.
A lot of travel writing in the start was just landscape porn, drawing up elaborate word pictures. But even in 1900, Jerome K Jerome in his Three Men on the Bummel said "in this book there will be no scenery. This is not laziness on my part; it is self-control. Nothing is easier to write than scenery; nothing more difficult and unnecessary to read".
Since just descriptions won't work, either the location is right at the world's edge, that the mere fact of going there is enough; or there is a gimmick, some unique lens through which we see the place. In a world where even Antarctica gets around 40,000 tourists every year, the first option is increasingly harder to do.
For the second option, the wackier the gimmick, the more the masala. For example, Stupid Guy Goes to India has Yukichi Yamamatsu trying to translate Japanese manga into Hindi and then sell it on the footpaths of Delhi.
Srinath Perur's If It's Monday, It Must Be Madurai is not about remote places and locales. Perur beats a path down beaten-to-death paths like Dharavi, Jaisalmer and Interlaken. What is his angle? Perur picks conducted tours, what he calls a "travel experience with a fixed itinerary, orchestrated by someone else, and undertaken in a group".
- Absolutist ideas of truth have been responsible for religious and political violence throughout history
- Indian Ocean regionalism will need India’s impetus, but Delhi does not seem up to the task
- Paranjape’s reading of ABVP’s activism and his facts about the seminar are wrong
- Is UP 2017 merely a repeat of Bihar 2015?
- Medical community’s angst on lower stent prices reveals a serious condition
- The Supreme Court’s recent reading of the law of contempt comes as a welcome relief