Special Lassi: A Backbreaking Misadventure In The Himalayas

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Author: Amrita Chatterjee
Publisher: Jaico
(Pp 248, ISBN 978-81-8495-649-8, Rs 299)

What raises travel writing to literature, says William Zinsser, “is not what the writer brings to the place, but what the place draws out of the writer. It helps to be a little crazy. Amrita Chatterjee has a refreshing account about the journey and the places visited; and as the book progresses, you feel the main aspect of the book change from a simple travel book to obsession as the author explains, “something had to be done, something sufficiently cracked up and insane.” Special Lassi takes readers on fascinating journeys, both geographical and psychological, and delves into the notion that the line between fact and fiction is often negotiable.

In the summer of 2011, two bleary-eyed kids, teetering on the cusp of adulthood, decide to drop out of daily grind and just travel. But once they are on the road their plans go out of the window. On the way is a constant stream of oddballs, like the five seconds tea lady, the flute playing hotel manager, flying Sonam, reggae junkies and many more – this journey is all about rolling with the punches.

Travel writers bring writing to an indefatigable curiosity, a fierce intelligence that enables them to interpret, and a generous heart that allows them to connect. Without resorting to invention, they make ample use of their imagination. The book is an account of a journey spanning the exotic foothills of the eastern Himalayas. The author has the gift of storytelling. This is one of those books which I felt totally engrossing.

–GS Jolly

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