Book: The Heat and Dust Project
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: Rs 250
At a time when surviving a day only on Rs 500 bucks seems impossible, author Devapriya Roy and her husband Saurav Jha challenged themselves with an insane idea. "The Around India in a hundred days, that sort of thing. Not much else, that and the budget of course. We'd stick to Rs 500 rupees a day for bed and board," states the fifth chapter of the book, The Heat And Dust Project.
The novel is a good guide to India for every couple, broke or not. It not only teaches one to survive on a mere Rs 500, but also takes the reader through the history and culture of India and the energy of the youth. "The trip was quite a challenge. But it also opened us up to a whole world of experiences and feelings that we would have otherwise not known. And although we'd known each other for years before, seeing the country together, being on the road together ... it changed us and our relationship ineluctably," says Devapriya. "The people I miss the most from our journeys are our younger selves. I think it has now become difficult for us to stay in one city for a long time," says Saurav.
The book has not one but many tales to tell; all parts of the country carry a different story. "The locals are the custodians of stories and purveyors of many narratives that surround a place. These narratives get conveyed by grandparents to grandchildren," Devapriya adds.
The trip was indeed a unique one and Saurav says that Devapriya's presence added to the whole experience.
"There might not have been a journey for her at all had we not travelled together since she would have spent half the budget on books anyway! Fatuousness aside, I really can't see myself going on such a journey without her. The bittersweet taste provides the necessary mix for dealing with the heat and dust of India," says Saurav.