Author: Alexander Frater
Publishers: Penguin Books
‘Chasing the monsoon’ is a book on Alexander Fraters journey through India, along with the monsoon clouds. He starts right at the bottom – Trivendrum when the monsoon clouds arrive in June and travels all the way north to Delhi with the progress of monsoon. He is there in Kovalam beach when people dance and rejoice at the sight of first rains. He moves northwards via Cochin to Goa and sees people welcoming the monsoons all the way. On his way, he does some research by meeting people at the meteorological department, learns the science behind these seasonal clouds that brings rain into India, and all about predicting the monsoons. He learns how important monsoon is for the Indian farmer and also to all those people who are looking for relief from the rains.
Set in the seventies, his journeys and many other experiences of those days feel a little outdated, but the facts and narration on monsoon do not change with time. In those days when he travelled, he had to find someone’s influence even to get an air ticket on board of Indian Airlines. He had to spend several months and go from door to door begging all the bureaucrats just to get permits to visit Cherrapunjee – a place that is open for all to visit now.
Besides being a wonderful narration of monsoons and making a good learning of everything that monsoons is, this is a well written travel story that gives a glimpse of the way of things in India’s the seventies. Sometimes the scientific facts seem overwhelming though. It is a worthy book to read for any one interested in travelling in India, and a must read for the fans of monsoon.