Who doesn’t like to travel and explore more places. I have always been a travel freak and when I got hold of this book, I was delirious. The blurb is like that Menu displayed in front of your favourite restaurant that you cannot hold yourself from devouring it. A personal account of travels to Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Mauritius, Venezuela, Argentina, China, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, UK, France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Georgia, Turkey, Croatia, Romania, USA, Australia, New Zealand. Readers get to have a first hand experience of the national, Geo political and even anthropological examinations.
When the book took off with the travel experience at Ghana my thought was that the author might have kept the best for the last because there is not much to be written about an African country other than the overdone poverty and unhygienic living standards and theft. But my prejudice got a good setback when I read more about the experience in Ghana. Contrary to the general notion, author tells the readers that Ghana is a safe country with picturesque nature, well maintained roads and the most unexpected night life. While Ghana is an unexpected surprise Nigeria managed to maintain the prejudice as it is. Even after being an African country Egypt is always confused as a middle east country because of the religious indulgence. Despite this the country was quite developed about a decade back due to the so called dictatorial leadership. Mauritius is yet another surprise. Author has frequented this so called honeymoon destination for his business trips.
The anti Americanism of Iran is interesting read. Kuwait and UAE is quintessential examples of how oil has become the treasure for the natives who doesn’t even consider moving a finger to get something done. The visit of turkey is accompanied with reminders of the past when the country was transformed from orthodox Christianity to Muslim belief. The experience in USA is one of the longest chapters. Now comes UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France and Italy which forms the Western Europe which in turn happened to be on the prosperous side. The chapter on Italy could have bee elaborated more because the chapter left me wanting more on the architectural finesse as well as the Gondola and Fountains in Italy. Eastern Europe seems to be another continent and it is difficult to believe the proximity and yet diversity in living standards in these two areas. When it comes to the Asian countries, it becomes more relatable and author has made a detailed analysis of the reasons why the GDP rates of the Asian countries varied so much. The icing on the cake would be Argentina and Venezuela which is a comparatively unexplored area for the Indians.
The book compares the living standard and lifestyle of Indians with that of the people of the countries he visited without prejudice and at some instances he has suggested a few alternatives to overcome the crisis in India as well. Hence the book is not merely a travelogue but an analytical account of the author’s trips to the various countries. It is an abstract of the travels by the author in the past 15 years and to summarise the same in a 216 page book without losing the crux is not at all a cakewalk. Inspite of extending the whole experience to a huge encyclopedic book, author has made the purpose of the current capsule lovers.