Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Sam Miller and The Blue Guide

Sometime last year, I read Sam Miller's Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity and promptly fell in love with it. It was because of sweeping statements like 'Anyone who has not eaten a freshly made dhokla has not truly lived'. I too like to teach people exactly how they are missing life and I absolutely agree, a freshly made dhokla makes it all worth while. But, on a serious note, Sam makes me want to get out and see stuff out of the ordinary. His Delhi is not only the monuments, which in Delhi's cliched context are ordinary, but small everyday pleasures too.

After reading the book, I dropped him an email. Last weekend, Rachel and I met him at his office in Panchsheel Park. There was a lot of conversation about Delhi, its monuments, and books that Sam is working on now. Finally, he gave us a signed copy of Blue Guide: India, officially launching on the 12th January 2012. As it happens, this is the only guide focused solely on India’s monuments and historical sites. It covers all states. From the oldest monuments to the least visited to the well known ones, it covers huge ground. What takes the cake is it took Sam three years to cover them and while I cannot vouch for him having seen every single of these, I am inclined to believe it is as first hand an account as an account ever got. It has detailed site plans for some sites and hundreds and hundreds of sites covered. I can say from my Himachal, Delhi and Chennai experience that it covers as much as there is to cover. If you were waiting for small teasers on the historical places in your state but did not want any spoilers, this book is it. Just the right amount, not more, not less.

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