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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank Goodness Dr Beeching wasn't let loose on Indian railways
I've read very good and very bad Kindle 'books' about people's experiences of travelling in India and this is one of the best so far. Richard Beeching is funny, he pays attention and his observations get right to the point of what it's really like to travel on a budget in the world's biggest democracy in order to watch cricket. He's absolutely, painfully honest about...
Published on 13 May 2012 by boingboing

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read
Having travelled in India I found some of the authors observations to be spot on. Laughed out loud a couple of times. A lighthearted and not too serious view of India through western eyes . Worth a read it it won't win any prizes.
Published 15 months ago by gary edinburgh


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank Goodness Dr Beeching wasn't let loose on Indian railways, 13 May 2012
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This review is from: Not Very Bollywood At All (Kindle Edition)
I've read very good and very bad Kindle 'books' about people's experiences of travelling in India and this is one of the best so far. Richard Beeching is funny, he pays attention and his observations get right to the point of what it's really like to travel on a budget in the world's biggest democracy in order to watch cricket. He's absolutely, painfully honest about just how crap life can be in between the sublimely brilliant bits and that's why I'd recommend 'Not Very Bollywood at All' to anyone considering independent travel in India for the first time and anyone who's done it already.

Whilst my interest in cricket is minimal, I found Beeching's 'first time in India' observations to be so authentic and so understandable that I warmed to his tale very quickly. This isn't really a book about cricket - cricket is just his reason for chucking in his job, leaving his divorce behind him and going off to do something different. He's not one of the dippy hippies off to find an ashram and search for themselves - instead he's a very English 'bloke' accidentally tripping over himself between test matches.

The organisers of the 2001 test series were not kind when they set the locations for the matches. He describes the locations as being "Milton Keynes - Hell - Milton Keynes" which is a pretty good summing up of Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Bangalore. If these three places had formed my first introduction to India I think I wouldn't have gone back. Equally the cricket was unexciting with India winning one test and the other two ending in draws. When the tour was over Beeching decided to stick around, partly hoping to get romantic with a Welsh television producer who needed some advice on the laws of cricket and would be around for the One Day Series, but also because something about India had got under his skin. He just wasn't ready to go home. I suspect nobody was more surprised than Beeching. He claimed he went to "watch England play cricket, go beserk in Goa and then leave". He hated his life and "fancied doing bugger all for a year".

He travels by train and by so-called luxury buses. He watches as locals defecate alongside the train tracks, sometimes raising a hand to wave as the train passes. He struggles to deal with full-blast Bollywood music on the buses - the price you pay for trying to keep the driver awake is sacrificing the sleep of every passenger on board.

At one point he wonders why the locals are staring at him and another traveller, whilst totally ignoring an old man masturbating over a display of bananas. That's the authentic voice of Indian travel experience.

Miscellaneous observations that made me giggle included watching tiny ants carrying away dead mosquitoes as he sat in the bathroom suffering a bout of diarrhoea. Actually rather a lot of funny bits relate to (squat) toilet humour. Having to wipe himself with 10 rupee notes, having a serious attack in a teepee and having to poo in a shower when the end of the corridor was just beyond his reach. It's not for the faint-hearted or weak of bowel. Similarly his feelings about monkeys are impossible to repeat without the use of more asterisks than letters. He fights off unofficial tourist 'guides' who "spoke excellent English but struggled to comprehend "No"". At one point he tests his theory that no Indian will ever admit they don't know where something is by walking a couple of blocks from his hotel and then stopping people to ask for instructions. Everyone waggles their head and tells him where to go. The only one who doesn't claim he's sure of the way is the only one who actually gives the correct directions. It's just all SO true.

I laughed, I grunted, I bored those around me by reading out snippets, and when I got to the end of the book I wanted more - much more - but there was no more to be found. I wanted to know who Richard Beeching was and whether he'd written anything else. And then it hit me that maybe he doesn't exist at all. After all Baron Richard Beeching was the man who shut down so may of Britain's railway lines and our Not Very Bollywood Richard Beeching spent 71 days travelling around on India's railways. I'm left wondering if it's just a nom de plume. If you know him, please leave me a comment and put me out of my misery - does he exist and is he writing anything else.

This fantastic little e-book will set you back a mere 77p and will possibly - if you are anything like me - make you laugh until others question your sanity. If you've ever been to India, every wanted to go or even never shown the slightest interest in going, and if you have an open mind and can see the humour in upset bowels, this is a bargain. Go, buy it now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True,oh,so true., 5 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Not Very Bollywood At All (Kindle Edition)
India is a country I love (and hate!). I have been a regular visitor over the last thirty years and it always excites, rewards and exasperates. Luckily I now travel in some style and manage to avoid some of the less comfortable aspects detailed in this wonderful tale. However many are still part of the trip - tummy troubles, bureaucracy, being stared at and the repeated conversations following the request for 'your good name sir?' are but a few. There are many travel books on India, written by a variety of travellers of differing generations and at different times. Many of them are in my library but not many are as good as this one!
'Not very Bollywood at all' is up there with the best. If your are thinking of visiting India at any level it is a 'must read'. The only criticism I have is that it is only available as an ebook. It should also be available in hard print so that more people get a chance to read it and I can give copies to all my friends.
Let us hope that Richard has not lost the travel bug (apart from the one in his bowels) and we can have another honest apraisal of where he goes to next
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, 8 April 2013
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This review is from: Not Very Bollywood At All (Kindle Edition)
Having travelled in India I found some of the authors observations to be spot on. Laughed out loud a couple of times. A lighthearted and not too serious view of India through western eyes . Worth a read it it won't win any prizes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How not to get ripped off on tour in India, 22 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Not Very Bollywood At All (Kindle Edition)
This is a good account of life in India as a tourist on a self organised trip. It provides some good tips on how not to get ripped off . Enjoyable story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Travellers tale, 25 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Not Very Bollywood At All (Kindle Edition)
If you're going to India for the first time (like me), this book gives an amusing insight into the joys and pitfalls of this country of seemingly endless contrasts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 13 Jan 2013
This review is from: Not Very Bollywood At All (Kindle Edition)
I'm just leaving for three months travelling round India largely on my own, never having been there or anywhere like it. This book thrilled and terrified me in equal measure, but more than both it made me laugh more than I thought a book could make me laugh. Obviously th we right book at the right time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book- loved it, 28 Aug 2011
This review is from: Not Very Bollywood At All (Kindle Edition)
Excellent story, incredibly funny and honest account of the authors time in India. If you have visited India you will totally understand the authors frustration at travelling from a to b in India! Brought back some memories good and bad and some just totally unforgettable experiences. A must read, an absolutely brilliant book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not very Bollywood at all, 7 July 2014
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This review is from: Not Very Bollywood At All (Kindle Edition)
I have to give this book four stars for the camel ride across the desert. The images that the writer gave life to really gave me a good giggle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 19 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Not Very Bollywood At All (Kindle Edition)
Gets to the heart of India. Frustrating and fascinating country. Well observed writing makes this a must read travel book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars India- well well!, 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Not Very Bollywood At All (Kindle Edition)
Well written laugh at loud at some parts. Been there done that, I have to agree it's an experience not to be missed. Must say not had the rings as bad as you did our for any length of time. Enjoyed the read while sitting on a beach in Agonda avoiding the endless "your good name?" Heaven.
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