We travel all the time, from place to place, thought to thought. There are yet other journeys that we would like to make but are unable to, that exist powerfully in the mind, day after day, month after month. Until Jehangir Bejan Tata died in San Francisco in 2013, he had been making one such journey in his mind for sixty-odd years. In that journey, he was back in Shanghai, admiring the clean art deco lines of a home he had left in 1952 but which had never left his mind. Bir Bahadur Singh, who left Pakistan during Partition, was haunted by a similar longing and could actually make the journey back, fifty-four years later, to pick up the connections from that long past time.
In Travelling In, Travelling Out: A Book of Unexpected Journeys, eminent writer Namita Gokhale puts together an eclectic collection of twenty-five stories that take the reader on a journey that is surprising, moving and, sometimes, mischievous. From Advaita Kala’s piece on an intrusive security pat-down to Ali Sethi’s essay on finding one’s identity as an immigrant in Amsterdam, there is a wide range of experiences to choose from. With contributors like M.J. Akbar, Rahul Pandita, Dayanita Singh, Urvashi Butalia and others among the guides, the reader can expect an unusual journey, one without the fear, moreover, of getting lost.