Come, See The World With Me Book Review: A cosy, friendly travelogue

Come, See The World With Me Book Review: A cosy, friendly travelogue

This is one for the armchair traveller who doesn’t want to read a typical travel book

Vidya HebleUpdated: Sunday, October 29, 2023, 11:23 AM IST
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Book: Come, See The World With Me

Author: Vilas Kale

Publisher: ‎ Indus Source Books

Pages: 484;

Price: Rs 1500

This is one for the armchair traveller who doesn’t want to read a typical travel book. Sounds contradictory, but a lot of travelogues do tend to be prescriptive, advising on the best thing to do or the most picturesque hotel to stay at. It’s not exactly helpful when you don’t want to actually travel, but want to read about the fun of it.

Vilas Kale’s book fits the bill here. It’s like those friends who invite you over to watch their family’s holiday videos and then hold you captive with their stories. In that scenario, however, there is no escape (unless you fix up to have someone call you in an “emergency”) – with this book, you can put it down and take a break whenever you like.

It’s unlikely that you will get tired very soon while reading, though. At first sight it seems an imposing tome, clocking in at some 460 pages. But you soon get drawn in with the engaging stories that Kale tells, each one like something he would recount over a cup of tea with friends. There is none of the compulsion to devote equitable weightage to the different places, which some travel writers are bound by; also, Kale is not duty bound to list hotels and travel times and so on – details which can end up making travel books dated.

Thus, for example, you have Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar in one chapter, and roughly the same number of pages is devoted to just Mauritius. And both chapters are equally interesting.

Kale’s writing covers more than half a century – from 1968 to 2021. Naturally, as he says, many of the places he has been to have changed with time and circumstances, and his descriptions may sound incongruous. He is candid about it: “I am now in my 70s. I have changed and surely people and places I visited have changed too. Please don’t judge me by what I have written; keep in mind the passage of time and laugh it off if something is amiss.”

At 72, Kale lives a full life, pursuing several interests. Having been active in establishing his own businesses, his interests include social work, leadership training, performing arts, painting and reading. His wife Neeta is equally passionate about travel. Kale’s paintings give an added depth of dimension to his writings, and also serve as a refreshing visual pause amidst the words. 

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