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Book Review: On the way.. They gave me a hand

What an interesting title, I thought when I first found the book on Blogchatter Ebook Library. This was one of the first books that I downloaded to read, but somehow I managed to read it this week itself. This book by Payel Dutta, is an anthology of anecdotes from her travels around the world. Here’s my honest review of the 83-page ebook which is now downloadable for free on Amazon.

About the Author

Payel Dutta is a solo female traveler from India. I don’t know about you, but that’s a description that instantly makes a person interesting to me. That’s almost all that she gives away about herself in the introduction to the book. In the course of the book, you get to know her more. I came to know that she is from my hometown Kolkata, a Bengali, an introvert and that she loves to talk about food. Okay, the last part was obvious when I mentioned she is a Bengali. She has travelled extensively in India, Asia and parts of Europe and writes her blog Turtle Got Wings (another awesome title). This book, in her own words, “talks about the travel chronicles of a solo-lady-traveler, some fun , some not-so-fun episodes from her travelogues with a bit of levity”. 

What I liked about the book

I loved the concept of the book. I might be biased here, as I already said I love solo women travelers. Especially the ones from India, being completely aware of the baggage of expectations, fears and naysayers that come with it. The idea of a young girl, casing her dreams to explore the globe by herself, meet new people and learning about life thus is inspiring. The book is not about the destinations but about the journey. Rather, it’s about the people she met in her journey. The conversational tone brings these strangers alive. In my mind I can put a face and a distinct voice to each of the people who “gave her a hand”. The Japanese woman settled in Fort Kochi, the garrulous aspiring singer in the night bus, or the knowledgeable tour guide in Cambodia.

The second thing I liked is her choice of tales to tell. The everyday people we meet become so interesting through her observations. The first chapter “Atithi Devo Bhava” talks about her brilliant hostess. By the end of the chapter you would know why. Even some short conversations that she shares in various chapters are quite insightful and unique. She doesn’t just talk about strangers she met. She even recollects travel tales of her past with her parents, extended family and best friends. I love her endearing way of describing her travel companions.

The third and most important thing is her honesty. The book is written from the heart. She has not revealed the name and identity of the individuals. This probably is what gives the author the freedom to be as candid as she wants. And it’s a delight for the readers.

What could be improved

I can only say what worked for me and what didn’t. I loved the book. But I felt the stories could be put in a series, in chronological order of the events as they happened. Maybe starting with her childhood travels with family,how she broke into solo-traveling, etc. Basically just a reordering of chapters maybe. That’s my thought. Maybe most people would find the back-and-forth timeline just perfect.

As a completely unqualified reviewer, I can tell you just go ahead and download the ebook while it’s still free. And tell me how you liked it.

My Verdict

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

The book is the much-needed dose of positivity in these dreary times. We keep hearing scary stories every day. There’s so much negativity related to solo-traveling in India. One really needs to go out there to realize the inherent goodness in human beings. The book is a must-read. It will bring a smile to your face which will stay with you till the end.

So this was my review of the book “On the way.. they gave me a hand” written by Payel Dutta. Download the book for free hereBlogchatter Ebook Carnival is a fantastic platform for new authors to showcase their work and test the waters before putting up their books on paid platforms. Do check out their amazing library for some fresh content. Yours truly has also published a book in the carnival. It’s called “Postcards from India” and here’s the direct download link for it. Please read it if you haven’t yet.

While you are at it here are few other “lockdown recommendations” from my side. Enjoy!

  • Amazon Prime – They have come up with some fresh and amazing originals in India. Thappad, Family Man and Panchayat are my top recommendations in that order.
  • Zee 5 – I recently watched their original “Chintu ka birthday” and an amazing Bollywood movie “Sonchiriya”
  • Try Amazon Audible – the audiobook free-trial is a great catch. Relax your eyes, and transcend into the world of your novel through an audiobook.
  • Read e-books on Kindle. Don’t have it yet? Order a Kindle online – it’s one of my best purchases ever. 
  • Check out the huge repertoire of online courses on Udemy. Being from the technology industry, I have recently registered for a Python course for data analysts.

3 Comments

  1. payel June 25, 2020

    Sinjana.. thank you so much for those words of support, love and encouragement.. my eyes are still small and grin is growing…

    Reply
  2. saibal barman June 27, 2020

    Your review is inspiring…..thanks for introducing the book…regards

    Reply
    1. Sinjana Ghosh June 28, 2020

      Glad to inspire you. Please check out my ebook too.

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