Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Q&A with Rishad Saam Mehta author of Hot Tea Across India

You are an avid traveler and a photographer, was writing a book always at the back of your mind?

Yes it was. Because my travel stories were restricted by word count and only relevant information about the place. The book allowed me to bring in the humane incidents, funny stories that were more personal and people based.
Tea as a conversation starter, how did this idea germinate?

Tea stalls are an Indian highways institution from the machine dispensed tea at fuel stations to the thatched roof and woodfire shack where the tea is being brewed in a blackened vessel, tea is an integral part of Indian road travel. It starts conversations, refreshes and relives fatigue. And at tea stops on lonely highways you almost always meet fellow travellers and conversation just seems to happen.

Who are your favourite travel writers? Any writer whose work inspires your writing?

I just loved 'One Year In Provence' by Peter Myle, the way the English language has been used to describe and bring in subtle humour is fantastic. Then I like Wilbur Smith's books because they bring about visions of such vast adventure and wild lands.  

What are the qualities that one needs to be able to effectively communicate to the reader through travelogues?

I like my travelogues to encourage and entice. To be able to convince even the most lethargic of readers that there is fun and adventure to be out there. Take a break from routine, unshackle yourself from the daily grind and go out there and live life as it is meant to be lived. 
I would like my readers to belive that travel is not an indulgence, rather it is an essential investment to a fuller and more wholesome life.  
The book has been much loved, going by the reviews, must be a satisfying debut for you! Tell us about your future plans; are you working on your next book already?

Yes it has been, the idea was to tell people that India is such an adventure to explore by road and to give them a really good belly aching laugh and I am glad it has served the purpose. Maybe my next book will be on travel or something else, but it will definitely contain humour for sure since I just love making people laugh. 

This was a very India-specific book; while you are quite a globe trotter do you recall any interesting incident during your travels that you would want to share with your readers?

There was one incident recently in South Africa when I was in Kruger driving a little i20 and it was charged by an angry rhino. I remember the first thought that went through my mind was what I would write in the insaurance claim form...Wrecked by one angry rhino.
Then there was that incident in California when I stepped out to stretch my legs on a lonely highway in a forest and a bear came and went to sleep near my door. I had to climb into the car carefully from the boot.  

Any travel tips, photography tips and writing tips for your readers?  Most importantly how do you manage to balance the three roles so well?

All three are co-existent. I travel because I love to photograph and write, I like to photograph hence I travel and I like to tell stories so I travel and photograph.

Do join Rishad Saam Mehta as he launches his book at Mocha Mojo, Bandra on 14th April Saturday, from noon-2pm. Look forward to seeing all you book lovers there!

1 comment:

  1. All the best Rishad! See you (hopefully) on the 14th