Riding God's Axe by Siva Sadasivan is not a tour guide, but is the diary of a trip to Kerala on train that reflects the most powerful impressions brought from the places he visited and the people with whom he came into contact. Thus it began a long journey, made of coincidences, exchanges, and continuous up and down from the sometimes overcrowded trains.
He writes incisively and some descriptions are truly effective with the magic of train travel combines with the beauty of the land while capturing an extensive and wide-ranging spread of characters from a soldier having a break from the sensitive Kashmir border to a school teacher turned social activist to a sanyasi with a difference, where outside continues to run, slowly in the abolition of time, a universal India with the supreme synthesis of peace, yearning and, once again with endless beauty.
In a train ride you can not only think, write, read, rest and even dream of but you can also talk and look in the eyes of the people, exchange opinions, and facts about individuals from television shows to the reality of a country that works, suffers, grows and changes. And often with the occasional travelling companion you can confide your secrets freely aware that at a station he will come down and you will not see each other again.
The book well written and accurately described reads very quickly and flows well as chapter after chapter you will seem to travel with the author, who knows how to convey with elegance and precision the special features and the beauty of the places the train stopped over, but also the conflicting emotions.
This beautiful journey is fresh and has the taste of youth. Sometimes the travel books seem to be written for the know-it-all but this book is a vision of only one part of India very humble, with no intellectual arrogance. It is a reassuring book, which seems very honest talking about the experiences in the train and is recommended to all the curious people and train travel lovers.
The book then, is many things in one. It is the story of an author eager to prove that there is a sustainable way to travel to research deep our roots of yesterday, only to realize how well it is irreconcilably distant from today with a place full of stories. The train seemed suitable for this venture, because it allows you to spend time with people, something that car and aircraft will not allow you to do.
There have been moments and nostalgia in the journey full of contradictions, beautiful and welcoming, between the soul of the people, that remain the same hospitable and warm, honouring the fact that someone was interested in them and their land. It takes the body an emotion in no clear principle that gradually takes on the clear outlines of an ineffable longing. A longing aroused by the echo of a likely golden age of this land and, at the same time, nostalgic belonging to us, somehow, always lived.
Maybe just a vibrational level, maybe just for the resonance of certain states of mind, after all, it is almost common knowledge that the universality of Kerala lies in its being such a place as defined in relation of our consciousness; a sense of suspension, with apical moments of infinity in the place where you can never say enough is enough that you will want tot visit again and again and again.
When a book allows you to extrapolate some old memories and it gives you some brand new on which to fantasize, it means that the reading has been a magnificent journey albeit under the warmth of the blankets and is recommended to all lovers of Kerala, who has already had contact with this place and those who dream of so much with a writing that is enveloping, deep and never banal.
At the bottom of the train you not only discover different landscapes and unknown people, but above all ourselves, the view within us. The author closes the book with a great desire to leave into this magical land on a train.
Format: Flexibound ♥ Publisher: Leadstart ♥ Pages: 162 ♥ Published: January 2015 ♥ Language: English ♥ ISBN-13: 978-9352015610