Blurb: ”After having recurring dreams, a man considers retracing Lord Hanuman’s epic journey from India to Sri Lanka. While rationality argues against the pursuit, the dream appeals to something deeper and he sets out with two friends on a 1200 kilometre trek across South India. The journey however, doesn’t turn out to be quite what they expected. Along the way, through encounters with evil cans of pepper spray, wise men, pimps, hellhounds, and manic elephants, they are forced to confront their personal demons. At one of their lowest moments, plagued by doubt, they lose all hope. That’s when they experience a sign, the first of many, which renews their spirits and helps them push forward. Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures, provides a candid account of the trio’s incredible journey – their misgivings, sufferings, and triumphs, all in search of faith.”A fun-filled travelogue, written with disarming candor and with liberal doses of humor, is hard to come b in India. When everybody else is writing college romances and trying desperately to become the next Duroy Dutta, Harsha has done a fabulous job by writing about something more relatable than dudes in India’s premier institutes trying to get laid and get a job.
The protagonist, a single, working male, undergoes upheavals, including the loss of a loved one, subsequent alcoholism and depression. So after he has what he considers a prophetic dream, he decides to set out on a pilgrimage of South India and Sri Lanka with his best buddies Sam and Sri. This is a real life humorous account of a journey the author himself undertook.What follows is a hilarious account of faith regained and lost and regained again by the author and his friends. Their belief in God and Humanity is wavering and unpredictable, and their vacillations between theism and agnosticism are ridiculously funny.
Also laughter-inducing is the banter, the arguments and the lectures the three friends give each other, replete with liberal amounts of cuss words.
It is also as interesting, as the author describes staying in dirt, dingy hotel rooms with suspicious stains on the bed mattresses, following raids by the police. More than once, the author and his friends are mistaken for gay dudes having a threesome ( one of the major LOL moments).But the real ROFL moments are when they are joined on their journey by animals. Goats, monkeys, mad elephants and mood mongrels, who guide, scare and pillage from the three friends.
Humor apart, this book also has a lot of info on what to do and what not do, what to watch out for and how to survive on a pilgrimage. Also, the author manages to narrate the mythical story behind ever temple and cave they visit.Except for a few typos, the language is of high quality and the grammar is perfect.Anyone who fancies journeying through South India and experiencing religion, faith, mythology and architecture should read this book. Anyone looking for a humor filled travelogue should also read this book.

You can buy a copy here: Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures

Source :-  http://thecrimocopoiea.blogspot.in/2016/02/review-monkeys-motorcycles-and.html

Behind the Book: The Process of Writing – A guest post by Harsha

Following a dream, three friends – Sri, Sam, and Harsha, set out on a 3000 Km journey retracing Lord Hanuman’s epic quest from the Ramayana. They walked 1200 kilometers across South India from Hampi to Kanyakumari, followed by a 2000 Km bike ride around Sri Lanka. Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures tells the story of their journey and experiences along the way. What follows is a discussion on the process of writing MMM.

 “What do you dream of? Love? Happiness? Power? Money? Or maybe Wisdom? In my case it was none of those. I dreamt of faith; something I had lost and was desperate to regain. For this purpose, we followed my dream of retracing Lord Hanuman’s route from the Ramayana. We finished the journey, the pieces fell together, I wrote a book and it got published. It was like clockwork. I never even intended to write a book in the first place. That’s how dreams work,” I said.
“Dear God, he’s started this off with his ridiculous ‘follow your dreams’ monologue. I see where this is going. Be right back, taking a long walk off a short cliff,” Sam said.
“Banzai! If by any chance you survive, I will throw his idiocy on top of you. That should get the job done,” Sri offered.
“Are you guys done? Can I continue?” I asked.
“Don’t look at us. You go off on tangents every single time and lose the plotline. I wonder how you even managed to finish writing the book,” Sri said.
“Well, like I said. The pieces fell together as if it was clockwork and….”
“Huh. Pieces? Clockwork? Stop giving gyan! Your friend Ram handed you a notebook just before you set out and asked you to write down your experiences every day. He said it would help you organize your thoughts. That is the only reason you were even able to think of writing a book. That notebook, my friend, was the first draft of MMM,” Sam said.
Step 1 – Write a log to make notes and expand on them. Carry a notebook and a drink wherever you go. You never know when you might need either of them.
“I expanded the notes and it was done and it was brilliant.” I said.
“Stop being an asshat. You spent one month trying to understand your handwriting and another three months researching additional details,” Sam explained patiently.
“Ok fine. Then I finished writing, it was considered to be the pinnacle of human accomplishment, won many awards and I lived happily ever after! The end. Yay!”
“Hah…Keep dreaming. Once the research was done, you stayed home for over a year, writing and rewriting every single line. It could have been done faster if you just focused only on writing, but you chose to run off on trips at every possible opportunity,” Sri replied.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway
Step 2 – Sit still and write. Keep at it till your head hurts and you feel like killing yourself.
I just stayed silent, knowing it was pointless to argue when these two were on a roll.
“You spent another four months editing the book and making numerous changes. If I recall correctly, you spent two weeks agonizing over whether to use the word ‘troublemaker’ or ‘rabble-rouser’ in a particular line. If I hadn’t suggested an alternative, you might have been stuck on it for several more weeks,” Sam complained.
“What….!!?? The alternative phrase you suggested was ‘fucking retard’. Moron! Don’t act like you suggested some brilliant alternative.”
“The point is, you were agonizing over every tiny detail in the book and creating multiple useless drafts after a good edit. Attention to detail is good, agonizing over details is bad,” Sam argued.
“Yeah, I remember reading over thirty drafts. Heck, if I read so much during my school days, I would have made it into IIT,” Sri added.
“That’s assuming you were smart enough.” I said, determined to have the last word.
Step 3 – edit and re-edit; proof read and spell check. Do it till it feels right, then do it again.
“Anyway, after all that, I did come up with a final version and sent it to you guys, didn’t I?”
“Ah yes. How could I forget that? Your so called ‘final version’. It was like a shittier version of the Transformer scripts, if that’s even possible,” Sam declared.
“Yes, it was absolute horseshit. It was like reading one of those tourist brochures – ‘Went to place A, saw B, did C’.” We begged you to rewrite it, this time talking about how you felt about the journey rather than as a log of events. The story needed passion and the human element not a bloody checklist. People needed to understand what we went through,” Sri said.
Step 4 – Have friends or your editor read it. Remove whatever isn’t needed to the plot. Remove whatever affects the pacing of the book. Make it personal.
“A few more months and three more ‘final versions’ later, you had something that all of us thought wasn’t half bad,” Sam said.
“Yeah and then it took four more months to find a publisher. Oh and the editors at the publishing house took a few more months to make tweaks, and then the cover design and finally it was ready for printing. Phew…that was a long process,” I said, happy to be done with the whole circus.
“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”- Stephen King
About the Author:
Harsha is the author of Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures, from Leadstart Publishing. For maps, photographs, and additional details about the journey, please visit MMM’s Facebook pageYou can purchase a copy of MMM at Amazon.
Source :- http://www.privytrifles.co.in/2016/02/behind-book-process-of-writing-guest.html

Review- Monkeys, Motorcycles and Misadventures by Harsha

Monkeys, Motorcycles and Misadventures on Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After having recurring dreams, a man considers retracing Lord Hanuman’s epic journey from India to Sri Lanka. While rationality argues against the pursuit, the dream appeals to something deeper, and he sets out with two friends on a 1200 kilometre trek across South India. The journey however, doesn’t turn out to be quite what they expected. Along the way, through encounters with evil cans of pepper spray, wise men, pimps, hellhounds, and manic elephants, they are forced to confront their personal demons. At one of their lowest moments, plagued by doubt, they lose all hope. That’s when they experience a sign, the first of many, which renews their spirits and helps them push forward.Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures, provides a candid account of the trio’s incredible journey – their misgivings, sufferings, and triumphs, all in search of faith.
 
Release date: October 2015
Published by: Leadstart Publishing 
Page numbers: 242
 
REVIEW:

Even though Monkeys, Motorcycles and Misadventures doesn’t fall under a genre I normally prefer to read, when I first came across the book, there was something extremely intriguing about it, which is why I decided to step out of my comfort zone and give it a try. I was definitely pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book, and more importantly, how much I learned from it. This was a book wherein the balance between fun and seriousness was well done and it made for a very entertaining yet enlightening read.
Monkeys, Motorcycles and Misadventures is the story of an epic trip taken by three best friends Sam, Sri and the author Harsha, after the latter has a dream in which he follows the entire path taken by Lord Hanuman on foot. I’ve always believed that dreaming is easy, but actually making a dream a reality is what is difficult, and people who pursue their dreams are full of bravery and courage. In spite of how ridiculous it might seem to someone on the outside, the trio go on a journey that changes them; for better or worse, that’s for the reader to decide.
Throughout the book or rather the journey, emphasis is laid on faith and whether what the trio are doing actually makes sense or no. Sam, Sri and Harsha were so different from each other and that gave three different perspectives on a single thing which was very beautiful in a broadening your horizons or taking back something from it kind of way. The incessant and hilarious banter between Sam and Sri, for me, was the highlight of the book and even though the book is Harsha’s story, I found myself relating the most to Sam, who seemed like my twin.
It is clear that a lot of thought and research went into writing  this beautiful book because it taught me so much about our rich Indian mythology, our vast and wonderful country, people, nature and practically everything in between. I’m not the biggest fan of trekking or hiking, but this book has made me want to get out there, explore more, appreciate nature and just live and feel the moment. Besides, being an animal lover, I was touched by the many mentions they got, and major, major plus points for the concept of “dogeism” which had me smiling.
Monkeys, Motorcycles and Misadventures is about more than just an epic trip. There is so much more to it than just three friends having the time of their lives. The book is about faith, friendship, trust, courage, strength and humanity and I devoured every page of it; but most importantly, it is about not giving up. It is the kind of book with which you have to relax and take your own time to really understand how deep it is and to make yourself a part of the journey.
 
*Note: This book was provided by Harsha and Leadstart in exchange for an honest review. We thank them for the book. 
Source :-  http://thereaddicts.blogspot.in/2016/02/review-monkeys-motorcycles-and.html?m=1

Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures

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Blurb: “After having recurring dreams, a man considers retracing Lord Hanuman’s epic journey from India to Sri Lanka. While rationality argues against the pursuit, the dream appeals to something deeper and he sets out with two friends on a 1200 kilometre trek across South India. The journey however, doesn’t turn out to be quite what they expected. Along the way, through encounters with evil cans of pepper spray, wise men, pimps, hellhounds, and manic elephants, they are forced to confront their personal demons. At one of their lowest moments, plagued by doubt, they lose all hope. That’s when they experience a sign, the first of many, which renews their spirits and helps them push forward. Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures, provides a candid account of the trio’s incredible journey – their misgivings, sufferings, and triumphs, all in search of faith.”

About the author: Harsha is a freelance writer and the author of ‘Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures’. After graduating with a Master’s in Business Administration, he worked with a large IT company for a few years, before taking a sabbatical to trek the Hanuman route. In 2013, he moved to a beach town, where he spent a year beach bumming, mooching off family, and writing ‘Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures’.

Review:  This was my first time reading a travelogue, a genre I hardly read or prefer reading but this book ‘Monkeys, Motorcycles and Misadventures’ by author Harsha did not disappoint me. The book was indeed a fresh read for me. It was a well written and maintained appropriately journal than a book. The book is a travelogue mapping the route Hanuman had taken to rescue the kidnapped Sita from Ashok Vatika in Sri Lanka and the author Harsha in fact ventured out with his friends on a 1200 km path across South India and book also highlights the journey of the trio and their many experiences congregated on the way. Though I love travelling I have never been on long trips, and while I was reading this book I imagined myself the trek, the roads, the troubles, the sun, the moon and the terrains. With the right amount of humour, wit and insight and those verbal exchanges among the friends made this book a special read. Apart from being a travelogue, the book is also the author Harsha’s memoir with the loss of his beloved grandmother and subsequently that of his faith; he seeks a resolution on this journey. I found the book to be funny, adventurous mythology with a dash of humour and excitement. I would highly recommend this book to all those readers interested in travel, and adventure.

“This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours.  To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

Source :- https://thewhitescape.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/monkeys-motorcycles-and-misadventures/

Monkeys, Motorcycles, and Misadventures by Harsha is an unique travel experience, where you get reacquainted with the people on a journey that will take you through parts of India and Sri Lanka, which will begin with a mystical journey in time and space that will bring us closer to love, forgiveness and the courage to overcome all obstacles that life inevitably presents.

Subsequent to having persistent dreams, a man considers retracing Lord Hanuman’s heroic voyage from India to Sri Lanka and he sets out with two friends on a 1200 kilometre walk across South India, and encounters along the way with evil cans of pepper spray, wise men, pimps, hellhounds, and agitated elephants. At one of their lowest moments, weighed down by qualms, they all lose hope and that’s when they experience a signal, the first of many, which renews their mood and helps them set in motion forward.

The protagonists of this novel after facing a deep crisis of faith look for a way to help themselves in their spiritual rebirth and the only real option was to start all over again. This novel is another stage of the spiritual journey of the protagonists and a couple of apparent strangers with whom they make new friends to improve their karma.

Through the book you can see the soul of the universe filled with people, animals, words, gestures, alive, dead, love, hate and everything that takes a few moments, but it’s an enough time to understand the past, the present and the future. It is a book that mixes faith and magic.

The writing style is fluid and inviting that takes us on a mystical path between the love, drama and courage of forgiveness in the places where you are not confused, seen from every angle. In the novel the existential reflections of the protagonists is most sincere and forthright, and can be caught in the immediacy of reading.

It follows then that man is a prisoner of time. We need a great effort to get rid of the memory, but when you succeed, you discover you have qualities superior to what you imagined. It’s a book where through time changes size and frequency, as the protagonists live a fulfilling intimate and personal spiritual journey that cannot and should not be judged.

It’s a book which addresses in its own way, the protagonists own existential crisis who decides to experiment and make a long trip perhaps to realise the meaning of suffering, because only two things can reveal great secrets of life, the suffering and love. And those who want to see the rainbow must first learn to love the rain.

Wonderful and enlightening, in this novel, the author brings with a wonderful journey of self-discovery and invites us to reflect on the meaning of our personal journey for are we really what we want to be, and do what we want to do. The novel talks about how to face our fears and believe in our own instincts and open our mind to the endless roads that connect all of us as we face together the journey of life, while following different paths.

A wonderful book that transports us to another dimension, in search of an answer and recounts a journey in search of ourselves that teaches us to look at reality from a different perspective, and is not a journey of faith in the religious sense of the word, but getting a broader mind through travel.

Format: Paperback ♥ Publisher: Leadstart ♥ Pages: 230 ♥ Published: October 2015 ♥ Language: English ♥ ISBN-13: 978-9352013777
Source :-   http://bookmarkks.blogspot.in/2016/01/monkeys-motorcycles-and-misadventures.html