Set in the year 2013, Battlefields & Paradise marks Sabir Hussain’s debut as a novelist. A 48-year-old traveller at heart, he decides to go on his first solo biking expedition to Ladakh. In the sweltering heat of May, he picks up his old but trusted bike, and starts his journey from Delhi. Thus begins the story of interesting people he meets in interesting places riding through Ambala, Jalandhar, Pathankot and Jammu and Kashmir.
The narrative makes the reader live the author’s experiences — like Hussain’s anxiety when his pump breaks down on a difficult terrain or the sweet taste of apricots that he describes in the book. His travelogue is more than just a journey chronicle. And he brings home the realisation that despite being thousands of kilometers away, human beings could still be alike. In Turtuk, near the LOC, Hussain’s conversation with Mohammad brings forth the important role villagers played in the Kargil war.
Though the pace seems to dip at a few points, the author’s simple writing style more than makes up for it. His descriptions of the landscapes, conversations with the people he meets and the political history of Kashmir — all keep the reader hooked and wanting for more. You’d want the journey never would end. “The magic of the mountains”, as Hussain calls it, will surely enchant you.
- Title: Battlefields & Paradise
- Author: Sabir Hussain
- Publisher: Westland
- Price: Rs 350