Book review

Battlefields and Paradise by Sabir Hussain, Book Review

A solo road trip on one of the most scenic, dangerous and fulfilling route for travel junkies in India. The summary of the book was enough for me to request a copy and loose myself in the beauty of a road trip from Delhi to Turtuk. 

I am a wanderer at heart and travelling my most loved soul comforting activity. I enjoyed and appreciate the simplicity of this book. Read on to see how goes the solo trip of an ex TV journalist on one of India’s most taken road in the mountains. 

Book

Title: Battlefields and Paradise

Author: Sabir Hussain

Publisher: Westland Books

Publication date: 21 Dec 2016

Rating: 4/5

Format: Paperback

Source: Westland Books – Review copy. 

Genre: Travel memoir

Profession: Ex TV journalist

What is it about

Delhi, Pathankot, Jammu, Rajouri, Srinagar, Sonamarg, Drass, Kargil, Leh, Hunder…Turtuk 

After a long stint as a journalist, amongst others, with India’s foremost English news channel, Times Now, Sabir Hussain decided to chase his life’s most cherished dream… At forty-eight, going on fifty, he picked up his ‘ordinary’ motorcycle one day and decided to ride alone from Delhi to Turtuk in Ladakh, India’s northernmost point on the LoC. Travelling on a shoestring budget through the historic Mughal Road, bereft of any fancy travel accoutrement, living in nondescript hotels and homes of friends, this is a passionate saga of a man who takes you on the ride of your life, traversing 3,200 kms on breath-taking and often dangerous roads. 

This is the story of a journalist-traveller who not only succeeds in riding to places where few dare to, but also lets you into the politics of Kashmir, straight from the mouths of ordinary people with extraordinary resilience and hope in their hearts. Battlefields and Paradise makes you feel that the most difficult things in life, are simply the least complicated…

My thoughts

Simply put, a travel junkie who is also an ex TV journalist goes on a solo road trip from India’s capital Delhi to Turtuk which is beyond Ladakh. In Battlefields and Paradise he gives the reader an account of his experiences on the road. As goes with the territory the author expresses his opinions, point of views, thoughts on life and situations and the numerous conversations he has with people he meets on the trip. 

The narration is to the point, factual and matter of fact for most part. There is dry humour at places and other times completely relatable. People who have traveled and are travellers at heart will identify the pain and challenges the author faces. It is a handy book and a fair account of what to expect on the most popular, adventurous road trip Indian travel junkies undertake on their beloved motorcycles. 

What I liked about the book:

  • The author was honest and straightforward in his narration, he did not try to romanticise the journey. He did not give an over the top or poetic spin to a solo road trip which many solo travellers tend to do. 
  • The struggles, tricks and tips stated by the author were from first hand experience.

It was humbling as far as one thinks of self as a traveler attracted to solo trips, a trip accounted in a manner which makes you think that with the right state of mind and preparation you too can try conquering your dream of going on a solo trip.

 

Book Buy Link: Amazon India

Author

Sabir Hussain was born in Silchar, Assam. He began his career as a journalist with the Sentinel in Guwahati before joining the Press Trust of India (PTI) in 1990. He has also worked with several Indian news television channels including, Times Now and India Today TV. He lives in Vaishali (NCR), with his wife and son. This is his first book.

Reviewed by Bharti

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