Hot Tea Across India

I picked up Rishad Saam Mehta’s Hot Tea Across India after seeing loads of recommendations for it all across blog-world. The book seemed to be centred around travel to different places all over the length and breadth of India – and the experience of having tea in all these places. Being an ardent lover of both of these things, I picked up this book and dived into it with great expectations. Overall, I enjoyed the book, while I did have a few grouses with it too, and parts that left me feeling dissatisfied.

Rishad Saam Mehta is a travel writer – one of those lucky few who get a chance to work at what they love doing. The author has worked for travel and automobile magazines, which have sponsored his extensive travels all over India. This book is a sort of memoir – a collection of anecdotes from Rishad’s travels, which are indeed fun to read about. Some of the episodes are extremely well written, and made me want to long to visit these places. Some travel encounters that the author writes about are hilarious, and had me laughing out loud.

Sadly, though, the book does not live up to its title. The subject of tea has been relegated to a couple of lines in most of the chapters, and not even that in some others. The tea lover in me, who was looking forward to read lip-smacking details about the different kinds of tea preparations in different parts of India, was disappointed.

Another grouse of mine was that the narrative gets way too random at times. The book seems to be a collection of friendly ramblings about the author’s travels, rather than part of a ‘book’, if you get what I mean. I would have liked for the travel tales to have been a bit more structured, a bit more in depth, and a bit less random. While the light-hearted tone of the book is fun, it gets way too much at places, and I wish that had been changed.

I would have loved to see photographs in the book, at least of some of the places that Rishad visits. I am sure that would have added to the charm of the book. I loved the book cover, though. I felt it is a wonderful representation of all the subjects that the author has written about in the book.

All in all, I would say I liked the book, but couldn’t exactly fall in love with it. I was not charmed by it, the way I have been by a number of travel books I have read.

Have you read this book? What are your feelings about it?


16 thoughts on “Hot Tea Across India

  1. I ordered this book from my library a couple of months ago expecting an interesting travelogue keeping ‘Tea’ as its prime focus along with some interesting pictures. But I too was quite disappointed. The language used in the book wasn’t too impressive nor was the narration. As you said ‘Friendly ramblings’ is exactly what came to my mind after reading this book. The mention of ‘Tea’ across the book seemed slightly unnatural and forced to comply with the title. All in all, I was hardly impressed!


  2. The name is so catchy too, isn’t it? I would have thought that the book would be good.. I guess I will not try very hard to get hold of this book 🙂


    1. @Smitha

      Yes, the book is catchy in all ways – in terms of the title, the cover and the theme. Sadly, it fell short for me, though I would say I did enjoy reading some of the chapters. Maybe you could give it a shot too – I wouldn’t say it is hopeless. 🙂


    1. @Smita

      Oh, I loved the cover. Sadly, I didn’t fall in love with the book. 😦

      Maybe you’ll like the book better than I did? I read a lot of reviews where the reviewers loved the book. Maybe it was just not my cup of tea. 🙂


  3. nope, I havent read this one..infact havent even heard about it till date…but then again, I am not a very big travel book fan because they just make me yearn to travel more 🙂


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