Book review: Tripping by C K Meena
TRIPPING by CK Meena, e-book.
Readers of CK Meena`s regular City Lights column of yore in The Hindu will need no introduction to her wry and witty observations on life. In Tripping, she has put all that humour to great use, resulting in many LOL moments for the reader.
Tripping is a travelogue detailing a 45-day trip the author and three others take in an SUV, driving up to the near mythical (tongue firmly lodged in cheek here) north and back. The quad is a decidedly unusual one: there`s the chirpy chatty author, her taciturn partner who goes by the moniker Wise One (WO), there is a couple comprising of FG who carries along enough amounts of herbs to keep him happy all through the trials and tribulations of the trip, and his Thai wife Kay, a former beauty queen who brings her own decidedly unusual perspective to things.
And so they head off taking the inner roads all the way up north, stopping at places of scenic beauty; eating happily at dhabas, staying in pretty decent lodgings and some dives, too. The quad takes in places as varied as Bhopal, Jabalpur, Pench, Sanchi, Vidisha, Orchcha, Delhi`s Bhagirath place, Gopalpur, Puri, Konark, Rushikonda beach in Andhra Pradesh, the Araku valley, Kotpad and more, and the author`s quirky notes on quad plus places they visit are much fun.
Meena touches upon all that is not kosher in matters of bed and board, in guides who blatantly make things up on the fly, and suchlike travel matters but she touches on them lightly, and the reader who already knows of these vagaries, reads it with a philosophical shrug.
Her takes on Khajuraho (the handiwork of a band of randy young sculptors with a sense of fun and a runaway imagination); guides who blithely spouted nonsense to the quad amongst whom there were three veteran journalists; how to pronounce certain `northie` words like Turiya (which has quite a different—scatological– meaning in Malayalam); FG`s instant bonding with autorick drivers who invariably link him onto further fresh supplies of his herbs; Kay`s single-minded obsession with finding network in all the places they visited, make Tripping such an enjoyable read.