Book : Don’t Ask Any Old Bloke For Directions (2009)
Author: PG Tenzing
Genre : Travelogue
Pages : 218
Cost : Rs.142(Homeshop18)
GR8 Meter: 6.5/8 YES
“Living your dreams, instead of just dreaming them, is not without risk” Wanda Rutkiewicz, mountain climber (also the answer of 5crore question of this season)
Hi, so how are you all, good, good to know that, are you interested in reading one more review, I know it can be boring reading one, but hey! I want to write one, so this review is about a travelogue of Palden Gyatso Tenzing named ‘Don’t ask any old bloke for directions – A biker’s whimsical journey across India’. Well quite a big name and that too of a book that is not lengthy, its just 218 pages, which is divided over 37 chapters and a prologue. And this book was first published by Penguin books in 2009. Nice eh! Well you decide it for yourself; I can only give my views! I bought this one for Rs.142 from Homeshop18.
There was this guy whose name was PG Tenzing and one fine day he decided to do a tour of India with his love bike, “Enfield Thunderbird”. Previous to deciding this he was working as an IAS officer (joined in 1986) or rather bureaucrat in Kerala cadre for 20 odd years. He studied PG from Mount Hermon School Darjeeling and graduated from Delhi University and an avid follower of Vipassana meditation and he hails from Sikkim and he also shares his name with a famous Buddhist monk. So that one fine day he decided to pursue his dreams of travelling Indian roads on his bike, and throws away his well-settled but disgusting (in his terms) career. He visit many places, passed almost all stated of India, ending his journey in Nepal, alongwith writing this book, he interacts with many people on the way, stayed at cheap hotels, explains the Indian bureaucracy and local conditions of every place he visited. He was 43 when he completed his long-awaited journey, and drove around 25320 km affecting his fingers too by constant biking, he went to topmost motorable road in Ladakh, and he went to Nepal, eastern states, middle states, Kerala. But this travelogue is not like a guide, it’s more like an experience, he just wrote what he feels and gets. And he termed this journey of his as a Karmic journey, attaching to various karmic networks enroute. And he named almost every person he met in the book.
So, as you all come to know, I want to tell more, that this book is written in the same manner I am writing this review, that is in First person, and that too like he (PGT) is talking to you (Readers) directly by the medium of book. Short sentences, grammatically wrong, one word sentences, just like we all use to talk, not everytime we follow the rules, only when we do an official talk. So this is a kind of informal reading book, and that brought the positives out of it as you instantly get attached with the main character of book, and PGT got hooked to you, and then you felt like you are the one not PGT who is doing this journey. Isn’t it fantastic? It’s basically a karmic journey, a term associated with what you did in your life, the “Karma”. Initially when I start reading this book, I disliked the pattern of directly speaking, but then I started enjoying it, it’s like ohh! Is it! That was the charisma of this writer and as far as I know this is the only book he have written. As per the staring quote (written above) of the book, he lived his dream! He named almost all characters he met in the way, I counted upto 160 in 218 pg book. He did use some hard words here and there; well he’s an IAS officer, so you can expect that. And the book was funny read, many real situation or explanations seems funny, so enjoyable part is there. Though in middle he explained openly about se* and her daughter, which I didn’t liked. Except that, this is a book to buy.
Some sad news now, PG Tenzing is no more! He died on 26th July 2010 of cancer. Well the guy who kicked his job to live his dreams is no more! But he induced spirit of life in his readers through his book, he depicted the true nature of people he met, maybe he knew that death is coming! He was featured in many news-stories and coverings during his journey. And this book is a must read if you want to read something different, just laid back and enjoy and went to Indian journey with him. Yes, this book is not for everybody but for me it’s necessary. My take 6.5/8. Thanks my friend who picked this book in a book-store just by looking at the main cover which shows the Thunderbird bike standing on a road of Kerala, and that my friend also owns one and he hails from Kerala, if he didn’t picked this book, I may never able to know about this book. So, thanks for reading and just keep in mind – Either you can live like hell or you die!
Jai Raam ji ki 🙂