Book Review : Monkeys, Motorcycles and Misadventures

Some books are meant to be read {your average fiction stuff}; some others are meant to be studied and analysed, learnt from {my upcoming review : Untold Stories of 20 Brands}; yet others are informative {India, Uninc, as an example}; and then are those which leave a deep impression, and provoke thought and discussion {Reforming Institutions, for example}... rare is the book that combines one or more of all of the above. The current book is one such.

This is a book which frankly defies description and categorisation. I cant call it Fiction, since the auther states it an non-fiction, and concerns a real event in the life of the author. I cant call it a travelogue, for it is far more than a travelogue. I cant call it just thought provoking, for it is full of rib-tickling ROFL anecdotes; what I can and will call it is : a complete entertainer from the first page, right from the very first page.


Image result for monkeys motorcycles and misadventures reviewThe book is ostensibly about three friends who decide, once upon a sweet sweet time, to follow the path of Lord Hanuman to Lanka. These same three geniuses decide to – hold your breath – walk. Yes, walk. A small matter of 1200 Kilometers. Saw it on a map, it isn’t much really. It was 6 centimeters on that map, so it is a rather simple affair, really. I mean, it isn’t like you have to walk to the Railway Station, is it? Just a small matter of a – {shudder} – walk to Sri Lanka. Right next door on the map. Look it up on any map if you think I am joking.

Anyways, these three – aah – geniuses – then proceed to actually execute the thought or decision. {I mean, seriously, how many of us actually, truly, really execute all of our decisions and plans? Unreal! Fiction Book, I would have thought : sad they took photographs as proof!}. To top it all, they actually do complete the plan, you know. And we, the smart people, are still at our home / office {hope you are at home reading this, you shouldn’t read personal stuff in the office} [PS : It is a Sunday and I am very much at home]. How they do it forms the rest of the book.


The book is written by someone only identifiable as “Harsha” {I wonder why? Why not give precise details?}, a person who is a freelance writer and the author of ‘Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures’. After graduating with a Master’s in Business Administration, he worked with a large IT company for a few years, before taking a sabbatical to trek the Hanuman route. In 2013, he moved to a beach town, where he spent a year beach bumming, mooching off family, and writing the current book. The others are Sri {whom I kind of liked} and the one and only Sam – two friends with whom the author has done some trekking before...


The author has the choice of making it like a recipe book, or a visitor’s travelogue by giving precise details and routes visited; full marks for avoiding that temptation and taking recourse to a free-wheeling style of writing, which is in keeping with the plot and the book. While they do have a broad plan, they decide to take it as it comes; this is the way the author has written the book as well. A free-wheeling, rambunctious style which makes for absorbing reading.

The book is freely littered with anecdotes, observations, fights {sorry guys, I found your fights entertaining at times. Sach hai, dunia hansti hai jab khud rote ho} that have you laughing at the situation, or the ready wit of the author, or of the comments and the observations of the three amigos, as the author likes to call himself and his friends. {Harsh : you did, too. All of once in the book. So there!}. That adds spice to this highly interesting book, making it a riveting read.

The icing on the cake is the thought provoking and deep insights, observations, experiences that occur to our three amigos along their path. These are found throughout the book, and leave you in quiet contemplation, stunned at times, just thoughtful at others, at the penetrating observation or the essential truth they contain. These span the most trivial to the most profound. Sample this little beauty when a kid walked up with Prasad :

I wanted to scream at the little girl, tell her the world wasn’t a safe place; .. but I didn’t... after receiving her kindness, who was I to destroy her innocence, her unquestioning belief in goodness? Was I a guardian, and of what? If anything, I had to guard that, the part of humanity’s divinity that I had just experienced... I wanted to see than innocence for longer, that faith in humanity; It made me forget my problems and my fears; It was something that I had lost a long time back, and the loss had left me jaded...”

These little gems are what elevate this book from the mundane to the level of a collector’s item, a book to be savoured as special, a book to be kept aside and read again and again when you have free time...

The writing is fluid, effortless and entertaining; the freewheeling style makes it a rapid and fast read, This is an ideal book for a journey for casual readers who have begun to experiment with other genres and styles, as it is a fast read and can be easily tackled in the free time you have; that is critical as the book literally flows from start to finish, and it is better if you read it through the first time.  For passionate bookaholics of the serious genre, people who have progressed beyond fiction – this is a must read title. All in all, I rate it 4 stars out of 5. 

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