September 24, 2011

'ADRIFT A Junket Junkie In Europe'---Book Review

Title: ADRIFT-A Junket Junkie In Europe

Author: Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu
To know more about the author, you can visit her

Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd

Price: Rs 150/-

Genra: Non Fiction
When I first heard that Puneetinder Sidhu's ADRIFT was up for grabs, I was curious to give it a try.
Being someone who loves traveling, I was looking forward to reading this book since some time now.
Besides, reviewing a travel book was a sphere I hadn't quite tread upon before and the fact that this one was by one of 'Hindustan Times' former food and travel columnist, only added to my curiosity.

Arm chair travel across the whole of Europe sounded like fun. But there was this risk of getting bored, which I must mention, was instantly nullified on getting the book in my hands.

The first striking feature about the book is its attractive cover page.
The second is its size, though on reaching the end, you can't help wishing for more.
This 100 page summary of an entire continent is written with such zeal and high spirit, that the enthusiasm and passion for travel is almost infectious.
Also the organised nature of the book is reflected at the very start itself by a 'sneak peek' index which carries in it glimpses of what lies ahead (in the pages to come, of course).

The opening chapter has the Chandigarh based author Puneeta Kaur SIdhu, telling us about her impromptu summer vacation to Europe (thanks to the strategically located Punjabi diaspora and good contacts).
Some of the 'Nine cardinal rule's that she decides in flight might feel a little too strict and make the reader wonder if the trip would have ended up being more adventurous, had she gone a little easy on them.
But then again, it's her trip...her rules.
Who are we to complain, eh?

During her stay in Germany, she learns a few words that add to our limited German vocabulary---Prost, Bitte and not to forget Schizer (which made me laugh as I promised myself I would put to good use some day)
She gets invited to an hitherto unheard of 'Goa' party---something which made me want to breeze through all the lines in between until I got to that part (out of sheer curiosity). The description of this party makes one imagine what it must be like to witness such a gala event---Indophiles recreating an 'India' in the German country side.
She also speaks about 'Mitfarhzentrale' a car pooling service encouraged by the state to conserve energy.

While in Swedon and Denmark, she speaks about her visit to Hylinge, a quaint village--a short drive from Helsingborg, where she gets a chance to eat one of the most delectable part of the Swedish dining cuisine---reindeer meat and then, Balting herring.
"Even durian would come out smelling of roses in comparison" she says---a line which made me flinch as I remembered how I had rushed off for fresh air despite being metres away from the tropical fruit at a local supermarket during my trip to Malaysia.
Besides, I have to mention about the ultra baffling moment in the book where I was enlightened that 'Rudolph' the red nosed reindeer of the much known carol singing fame was actually a 'SHE'.
Thanks Puneeta, for clearing my concepts...phew!

The visit to Torekov (a fishing haven) and the stay at 'Adrid' make you feel a strange pull towards this place---which made me reconsider Sweden as a holiday destination.

While Puneetinder juggles between the work of Vincent Van Gogh and the life of Anne Frank, she also gets an opportunity to see a real wind mill and window shop in a red light district.
Her trip to Amsterdam is piled with a lot of alarming and exciting anecdotes which work their way to arouse the interest of the reader and make it more interesting than just any normal travelogue.
So is her stay in Austria.

Visiting fairy tale castles in alpine havens, her Hungarian rhapsody is filled with adventure as she explores her way to Budapest and Lake Balaton.

The chapters on France and Britain brought along with them, a Deja Vu kinda feeling---Hampsted Heath, Notting Hill Carnival, Billy Conelly and not to forget the wine consumption and silly 'high' that kicked in thereafter, at Paris---swept me in nostalgia of a trip not such a long while ago, and made me put down the finished book, lost in memories of my own.

Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu has succeeded in captivating the readers interest until the last page.
The easy flow of language and wit makes it an interesting read.But if you think the 100 pages booklet is something you can read in half an hour, you'd be mistaken.This is one read you would want to read at leisure and soak in the informative yet lively banter, all through the way.

Her travel stories leave you smiling in places, while some parts compel a strong urge to make mental notes in preparation for your next holiday.
Pictures speak a thousand words, they say---the photographs in the book were an additional highlight.
I also liked her style of combining humor, anecdotes and travel---which keeps the attention of the reader from wavering, a trait most travelogues otherwise possess.

As for complaints, I dont have any.
Reading a journey experience is like traveling with the writer and everyone has a unique style of traveling.
Judging or comparing styles is like being that unsatisfied pesky guest who tags along with you every leg of your journey sans personal expenses and still keeps gloating about how much fun he had during a previous one, instead of enjoying the moment.
As for me, I had tagged along an entire Europe trip with Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu, only to have enjoyed her fun-filled-energy-packed experience to the tee.

Having said that, I would suggest you to pick up this book the next time you visit your bookstore and give it a read.
For all travel enthusiasts, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Rating--3 out of 5 (in the category of travel and adventure)

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!


Saru Singhal said...

Nicely written review...

niki said...

i think im going to pick this one up :)
nice review...

sarika bansal said...

im planning a europe trip soon.will read this book b4 it :)

Kunal said...

your writing is an easy breeze too. At least this one. Thought, at first I was not amused (;), when I read that in only 100 pages, the book covers most of europe..but after reading this..I am assured. I have traveled quite a bit in be I can guess..whats in store for me..but still...there is no harm in getting a bit nostalgic..once in a while :)

Pri said...

@ saru
thankyou :)

Pri said...

@ niki
i think you should..happy reading! :)

Pri said...

@ sarika
yea..its a concised and apt read before a trip :)
bon revoir!

Pri said...

@ kunal
i agree kunal, 100 pages cant even begin to cover the whole of europe...
but this book has snippets and anecdotes which make it interesting..and ofcourse, nostalgia is guaranteed! :)

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