Skip to main content

Featured Post

Book Review: On Philosophising, Philosophers, Philosophy and New Vistas in Applied Philosophy, by Dr. Sharmila Jayant Virkar

A little bit of context before you begin reading this book review. I have recently enrolled for an MA in Philosophy at the University of Mumbai. Philosophy is something I have been getting interested in, over the past few years, as those of you who have been reading my blogs and Instagram posts would know. During the pandemic, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next, and this is what I eventually came up with. It has been a challenge, getting back into academics as a student at this age, especially in a subject I have no academic background in. However, it has also been very exciting, especially thanks to my wonderful classmates (who, surprisingly, are of all age-groups, including some quite near my own) and my teachers, who have been very supportive and understanding. How well I will do is something that remains to be seen, but so far, I am enjoying this new journey and look forward to where it leads. Now that you know the background , you probably get an idea of how

Book Review: Aisle Be Damned by Rishi Piparaiya



Rishi Piparaiya, in his book, ‘Aisle Be Damned’, quotes Paul Theroux –

“There is not much to say about most airplane journeys. Anything remarkable must be disastrous, so you define a good flight by negatives: you didn’t get hijacked, you didn’t crash, you didn’t throw up, you weren’t late, you weren’t nauseated by the food. So you’re grateful.”


I remember reading “The Old Patagonian Express”, where the quote is from, and also remember thinking how true it was. Of course, that was a long time ago, but I am still not a big fan of airlines, and would much rather take a train rather than fly. Which is why, I hesitated to read Piparaiya’s book. With a blurb that described it as “A hilarious take on just about everything associated with air travel”, I wondered if I would be able to enjoy all the talk about flying when I flew so little.

The book languished on my shelf for weeks while I read other books, the kind I normally read. And then, this last week, having finished one such book, which brought up more thoughts than I liked, I looked for something different, something lighter. And that is when I thought of this one.

I began it with grave reservations, which melted within moments, making me smile at first, and then laugh out loud. It lightened up my mood, and surprisingly soon, too!

Piparaiya begins the book with an ‘Essential Packing List’, consisting of items such as birdseed, stink bombs and parachutes. You wonder what this is all about, and then you begin to read, and explanations flow through the narrative, making you laugh. He takes us through the entire process of air travel - starting with the airport, checking in, the choice of seat, what to do during a flight, the dangers of air travel, and how to combat them, and eventually taking us through landings, clearing immigration and customs, all the way to getting back home. At a little over 200 pages, it is surprisingly exhaustive.

Considering the length of the book, and the fact that we have heard many jokes about air travel over the years, it would have been easy for the book to lose its pace midway. That it doesn’t happen, and that the book continues to engage us all the way through is a credit to Rishi Piparaiya’s sense of humour and his writing skills. He has his tongue firmly in cheek all through the book, and it is this which really makes the book a good read.

The only negative, if I can call it that, is the extensive focus on the dangers of air travel. I would agree that this is the issue that provokes the most humour, but in my opinion, it is a bit overdone. This is the only portion which gets a little too long for me. Otherwise, I enjoyed every section in the book.

One thing I appreciated about the book was the list of sources - references to the quotes, as well as the images used. Much of the material is from the internet and newspapers, but they have been put together in a manner which makes for an easy and fun read, which is to be appreciated.

Rishi Piparaiya, as head of sales and marketing for a multinational company, has a lot of frequent flier miles under his belt. He has chosen to write his first book about a topic he knows well. I am sure there are many others like him out there with experiences even more interesting, but not everyone would be able to piece those experiences and thoughts together as well as he has. It is indeed a commendable first book.


This is the kind of book you want to read, if, you, like me, need something to lighten up your mood, or if you need to have a good laugh, or, simply if you want an easy read to pass the time. 

Thank you, Anjali, for sending me the book, and waiting patiently for me to read and review it!





Comments

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavantesh

The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves , located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, about 11 Km off the coast of the Gateway of India, Mumbai, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to these caves, excavated probably in the 6 th century CE, is awe-inspiring, and also thought-provoking. Over the years, I have visited the caves a number of times, and also attended a number of talks by experts in the fields of art, history and archaeology on the caves. Together, they help me understand these caves, their art, and the people they were created for, just a little bit better. Every new visit, every new talk, every new article I read about the caves, fleshes out the image of what the island and the caves would have been like, at their peak. I last wrote about the caves on this blog, in 2011, almost exactly 11 years ago. Since then, my understanding of the caves has, I would like to think, marginally improved. Hence this attempt to write a new and updated post, trying to bring to life, the caves of Elephan