When Places Come Alive: Book Review

Book: When Places Come Alive
Author: Ami Bhat
Genre: Travel
Publisher: Notion Press

A debut self published book by avid traveler and travel blogger Ami Bhat.

Travel, they say makes you a story teller. The more one travels, the more aware of various folklore, cultures and traditions, one becomes. Interacting with different people opens up a world of anecdotes and experiences.

In her debut book ‘When Places Come Alive’, Ami has tried to distill those very experiences from her travels in India and abroad. ‘These stories made a place in my head when I traveled to the destinations’ says Ami.

When Ami sent me her book to read, I was expecting travel stories and essays of her experiences. Instead what I read was her experiences woven into a fictional characters. There are village belles and princesses and intrepid explorers living Ami’s experiences and re-imagined folklore.

So, the story of villagers who disappeared overnight from the haunted village of Kuldhara, near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan is visualized as that of a young village girl happily playing till an evil eye finds herin the story’Where did She Go?’. The story of Dah village of Ladakh is imagined with Greek army and Alexander leading the story ‘The Last Village’. There is a princess of Lombok, Indonesia retelling the folk tale in ‘One For All’.

For her story ‘Sparkling Secrets’ about Gold Coast, Australia, Ami has imagined a character who is her namesake. The girl in the story Amy, goes on a treasure hunt and discovers the breathtaking gifts of nature along the way. ‘Actually I felt exactly like that in Gold Coast…as if I was on a treasure hunt’ mused Ami when I asked about the message in the bottle story.

What I liked was the presentation of the travel experiences in fiction form. It is a commendable effort and the result is a wonderful read in the stories. The ten individual stories allow the reader to read at will in any sequence thus keeping the mystery and exploration like that of a traveler, alive. Each story provides a link to blog posts on traveling details of same destination on Ami’s blog Thrilling Travel.

What I would have liked to see in these stories is some kind of illustration to make the short stories more attractive. But that is totally my desire. The stories are well imagined and well written. The book makes for a interesting weekend getaway.

Go ahead and read her debut book. It would be as interesting as her blog.

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