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Chai Chai by Bishwanath Ghosh

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Some years ago, a journalist experienced something of an epiphanic moment. Bishwanath Ghosh had alighted ...from his train at Itarsi station in Madhya Pradesh - to stretch his legs and grab a cup of tea - before he resumed his journey which had begun at Kanpur and would end in Madras. It occurred to him, then, that millions of passengers had killed probably billions of hours at railway junctions such as Itarsi in order to take the connecting train to their destinations. But no one bothered to wonder about what lay beyond the platform. And so, Ghosh resolutely roamed the towns beyond the station yard — towns such as Mughal Sarai, Jhansi, Itarsi, Guntakal, Jolarpettai, Arakkonam and Shoranur — to discover the lives of people who may have grown inured to the constant whistle of passing trains. In Chai, Chai: Travels in Places Where You Stop But Never Get Off Bishwanath Ghosh combines descriptive skills with personal history and humour to brilliantly illuminate these otherwise obscure small towns – towns that denote the real India.

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