Richard Grant sets off on a gripping trip to the lawless Sierra Madre, Mexico, to satiate 'an unfortunate fascination'
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It may not be the most compelling motorcycle journey, neither in the ride nor in its telling, but P.G. Tenzing’s self-deprecation and affectionate attitude toward the people he encounters in this book occasionally lifts this book above the shopworn theme of The Road Trip That Changed My Life.
Motivated by the quixotic hope that cutting loose will stimulate the mind and heal the soul, Tenzing trades the drudgery of a life in the Indian Adminstrative Service and embarks on an open-ended journey across the subcontinent on a Royal Enfield motorcycle. With that, Tenzing is off and running. Starting from Kerala, he criss-crosses the country with no fixed plan or destination. The journey turns into a nine-month crawl coping with bad roads, toxic dhabas, dismal hotels and fleeting human interactions with a changing cast of colourful characters. But recounting far too numerous pedestrian encounters with his IAS old boy network across the country on the journey bogs down Tenzing’s otherwise breezy narrative.
Tenzing’s numerous epiphanies sometimes lead to some quirky expressions. He writes: “So when I started my search for life’s meaning, death was a significant part of the equation. I am nowhere near understanding anything, but am at this point comfortable with the idea of death. It happens. Shit happens.”
What’s missing is the unfinished business of real life, as if Tenzing were pushing these out of sight so as not to come off as dull or downbeat.
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