Sunday, August 12, 2007

Books: Chasing The Monsoon

Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater is a hugely enjoyable travel book, whose intention is to follow the progress of the summer monsoon through India, beginning in the southernmost tip of the subcontinent, and following its progress up the west ghats up to Mumbai, then crossing it India to witness its impact on Calcutta and on Bangladesh. I read it some years ago, and thought that it'd be a great project to photographically retrace Frater's footsteps.

The quirkiest review of the book is by Dilip Dsouza in his blog...he writes:

"Which is why mangoes are invariably the bridge between summer heat and the pounding glory of the monsoon. In his scrumptious "Chasing The Monsoon", Alexander Frater writes of watching the monsoon break on Kovalam beach in Kerala. "Everyone shrieked and grabbed at each other," Frater says. For him, that was the dark-eyed beauty to his right, and this is how he describes the moment:

"Her streaming pink sari left her smooth brown tummy bare. We held hands much more tightly than was necessary and, for a fleeting moment, I understood why Indians traditionally regard the monsoon as a period of torrid sexuality.

Then, as the deluge really begins, she is gone, no doubt trailing drops from streaming pink pallu as she runs through the rain. Admit it: when you eat your May mangoes, you're thinking of moments like that to come."

A momentary romance, the wisp of mystery, that quick flash of magic -- this is the stuff of the monsoon, this May-June season. And from its shape to its smoothness, from how it fits in your hand to how it feels in your mouth: no fruit in the world captures that utterly sensual mood like the mango does.

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