An account of a motorbike ride through the challenging but thrilling Himalayan terrain
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I suppose I like railway travel books because I like travelling by train. The modern master of train writing is, of course, Paul Theroux, and his The Imperial Way: Making Tracks from Peshawar to Chittagong is a short classic of the 1980s. That period was more important in the history of the Indian Railways than the ‘70s of Theroux’s better-known Great Railway Bazaar because the ‘80s were the last days of steam. Theroux says, “The railway seems so profoundly part of the subcontinent’s culture that it hardly seems related to the industrial age, but instead seems as ancient as India itself.” He goes on to say, “The roads and airports can come and go but nothing seems so indestructible as the railway.” “Hear, hear”, say I, and may it not be too long before the bitter legacies of Partition and the childish enmity between subcontinental neighbours pass away, and the railways are restored to their former glory so that passengers can board a train running all the way from Peshawar to Chittagong.
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