Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review: "Tales From the Road" by Aniket Ketkar

"Tales From the Road" is a great read. It is a collection of experiences by an accountant turned full-time backpacker as he navigates his way through SouthEast Asia. And behind these experiences is a perceptive mind making a commentary on human nature, thought process of young adults & convincing us why sometimes just having plain fun is good for the soul. :)

It is not a travel book, nor is it a reference book for wannabe backpackers.

Traveling an unknown country with unknown people, barebones planning, self imposed spending limit & still having the time of his life - reading some of his experiences is really intoxicating. The author paints a beautiful picture of different mountains, volcanoes, jungles that he hikes through. He introduces us to the many different characters & fellow backpackers he meets during his journey. It is fun at times to read about his 'escapades' and you can't help but admire how he still manages to stick to his tight financial budget. It is fascinating to read about the thought process, the reasons & the philosophy that backpackers from different countries, different cultures, different backgrounds have.

But beyond all of this, it is a subtle commentary on human nature, the 'artificial bubble' as the author calls it, of ambition, material wants & familiarity of routine life. The author does not just lay down these facts - he 'arrives' at them via his experiences & this personal realization of sorts does not make it preachy at all ! That I believe is a win for this book.

A slight nit-pick I have -
I wish the book had included phonetic pronunciations of names & places. Maybe its just me but it always helps to associate the correct intended sound to the words.

Disclaimer: I know the author, Aniket Ketkar, personally through mutual friends. And after reading this book, my respect for this dude has increased manifold !

You can get the book from Amazon here