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If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour of India
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If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour of India

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  393 ratings  ·  76 reviews
A delightful travel book!

This entertaining travelogue around ten conducted tours contains myriad riches: of hanging on to a camel in the Thar; rediscovering music on the trail of Kabir; joining an ancient pilgrimage; and hunting for sex in Tashkent.
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published December 2013 by Penguin Books India
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Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, humour
Travel writing as a genre had never really interested me. I am fairly certain that the numerous English Comprehension tests I wrote in school that featured extraordinarily tiresome pieces on places around the world are to blame. After I passed out, I’d read very little travel writing and whatever I’d read, I found to be too introspective and unnecessarily geographical for my taste, if not boring. Through the years, I managed to maintain the same distance one does with dull, but well meaning uncl ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full on entertainiment!

A travelogue on ten conducted tours with different Indian groups:
1. Tamil temples package
2. Europe famous spots
3. Deserts of Rajasthan
4. Kerala backwaters
5. Sex starved tourists for Uzbekistan
6. Slum tourism of Mumbai
7. Journeys with Meaning tour of North East
8. Musical trail of Kabir through MP-Rajasthan-Gujarat-UP-Pakistan
9. Village life innovations through Madhya Pradesh
10. Traditional Wari walk of Maharasthra

Written in an ironic and funny way, the places explored in t
Tanuj Solanki
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tanuj by: Mohit Parikh
Travel books are often a compendium of clichés. If the ‘when to go’ / ‘how to reach’ concerns are ever transcended, it is the ‘majestic beauty of the mountains’ or the ‘vastness of the ocean’ that is tritely commented upon, apparently granting solace to the writer who is trying to escape the ‘hustle bustle’ of a megalopolis. As if confronting the picturesque to escape the hectic life was all there was to travel. If the book in question is sufficiently post-modern in conception, it will make a bi ...more
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'm guilty of initially judging this book as just a quick summary of touristy group tours the author had gone on (and was trying to make a quick buck with a book in the currently "in" subject of travel). As the 10 chapters show, the canvas is more colourful, the subjects even more varied, and I'm delighted to be proved wrong.

1) “The Grace of God” is a temple hopping tour across Tamil Nadu with retired government servants
2) “Saare Jahaan Se Accha”, is an escorted Europe tour with a Desi group
3) “
Rajat Ubhaykar
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A most delightful travelogue. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this.
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016, owned
Ten chapters of ten 'conducted' tours that the author went on. At least eight of those were an enjoyable read and a few in those were thought-provoking too.

Off late, I've developed a liking towards travelogues by younger authors (Samanth Subramaniam, Haroon Khalid and now Srinath Perur). Perhaps, I related to them better?
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant book about the India I (know) love. It's written with so much of affection, dignity, frustration, and irreverence, that it makes for a very nostalgic, hilarious, and heartwarming read.

"what essentially amounts to devotional pub-hopping : roaring from temple town to temple town in a comfortable bus, buying fifty-rupee tickets to beat the queues, and paying quick obeisance at a couple of the more important shrines in the temple complex" - is an accurate summary of all my excursions f
Sairam Krishnan
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
My travel book binge this year continues with Srinath Perur’s first, a collection of travelogues about traveling in groups, and I must say that I didn’t come to it with any great expectations. And the first piece in the book sort-of confirmed that for me. I found the writing very ordinary, the observations obvious, and didn’t feel the need to read more.

But I persisted, and felt the book grow on me. It took me a while to get used to the fact that the travel part in Perur’s book is not about the p
A Man Called Ove
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travelogue
I remember that the first travelogue I read was Among the Believers : An Islamic Journey by V.S. Naipaul to read a first-hand account of life in Islamic countries. Am a reluctant traveler but I keep picking up a travelogue now and then by famous authors like Theroux, Iyer and others. Almost all those authors had very sharp observation skills and secondly, they all travelled alone. In that sense, this book by Srinath Perur is different from them all and kudos to him for that.
Travelogue based on c
Nayana Setty
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was my secret Santa gift. I enjoyed reading this a lot. Never did I felt bored reading this with healthy mix of details of people and places.
Viswajith Venugopal
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
As advertised in the jacket, this is, indeed, a delightful travelogue!

It's about 'conducted tours' -- that is, a group package tour where people reserve their spots, and are shepherded around from place to place by a guide. So you're with random people, and all your arrangements are taken care of, and you usually end up saving a lot on food, accommodation and tickets to places. I've personally been on one such tour -- a fifteen day-tour across 10 European countries -- and when Perur (I happened
Arathi Mohan
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: india, travel, non-fiction
This book took my armchair travelling to new heights. Ten different places in its ten chapters- I could not have asked for more. The writer starts off on the usual temple tour of Tamil Nadu with a group of retired Government servants, then rides camels across Jaisalmer with people his own age and then undertakes the customary Kerala trip, sharing a houseboat ride with foreigners and taking an unexpected dip in the backwaters. He also embarks on more unorthodox tours - slum tourism in Dharavi, se ...more
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Travel books. Are they a thing now that most of the travel we're getting is between our living and bed rooms? If you're open to group tours and even more open to the humour that's innate to escorted group tours, I wholeheartedly recommend Srinath Perur's "If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour of India."⠀

Ten different places in its ten different chapters. Perur touches upon the quirks of his co-passengers as well as their different reasons for embarking upon conducted tours. In this
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fantastic read. I was drawn to the title because I am from Madurai. The book was super well-written. I liked that the author was not being a snob, especially in Europe, when he writes about things that bind them all together and makes observations about people that are funny, but really does not come across as an elitist rant. It could have been very easy to slip into a mocking judgemental story about the lack of sophistication among fellow travelers, the kind that you would hear ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up on a whim but it was really interesting--the author, a young writer from Bangalore, accompanies various tour groups within India and in Europe. Unlike most travel writing, he's focused primarily on the travellers. His insightful observations and interesting perspectives make for fascinating reading. ...more
N Kalyan
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very unusual travel book and a delightful read. It takes you places where you don't normally go and makes you see what you normally don't see. You will certainly learn a lot, also laugh a lot. Highly recommended. ...more
Dayanand Prabhu
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Why would a hardcore traveler defy his usual itinerary and travel in organized groups? Srinath Perur answers just that question by taking 10 conducted tours with Indians in various Places. This book is a masterpiece and will definitely be called a classic in the years to come.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! I was already a fan of Perur after reading his English translation of Ghachar-Ghochar, but after reading this travelogue, I can't wait to read more of his gems!

The topic of this book is actually quite uncommon. Perur describes his experiences while traveling, not alone or with family/friends, but with conducted groups through different travel companies. His journeys (and sojourns) take him to Europe, Uzbekistan, Kerala, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Pandharpur, and several other places
Jasdeep Singh
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book. Srinath takes all kind of group trips. Temples in Tamilnadu, backwaters in Kerala, Shodh yatra in rural MP. Northeast and he explains who are the people taking those trips and why they were doing it. Really liked passages on Kabir project, Slum tour and young people thinking to quit jobs on North East tour.
Recommended if you are planning to travel inside India or to Uzbekistan :)
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was at a book fair when this book caught my eye. I soon realised that it's author is Srinath Perur. I had read 'Ghachar Ghochar' which was translated by Perur and I became an instant fan of him!
I must say that apart from the description of places of travel and his fellow travellers, this book is filled with insights and humour which I thoroughly enjoyed reading!
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting concept and while I feared monotony, it escapes that trap. The piece on Uzbekistan was downright hilarious and the last one on the Wari was my favourite. The author does a fantastic job of reporting the experiences and does a nice job of communicating how a Europe group trip can be far more jarring than a 20+days walk in Maharashtra.

I'd be interested to read more by this author.
Sundarraj Kaushik
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is not a travelogue, but it talks about travels of the author. The author undertook a series of conducted tours within and without India and the book is about these trips that author took. The author starts off about a conducted tour of temples in South India. He sticks out as a sore thumb among the old and retired people. It is a rush-rush affair to cover as many temples as possible. The goal is not to enjoy the tranquility of the temples (most temples do not have any tranquility any more) b ...more
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed the author account of travelling with Indians in group tours. It's realistic yet humorous account of our habits in life. I could identify as I have been part of numerous such trek groups in Bangalore.

With time you start enjoying the journey and so is the case with this book. I wish the author writes more!
I kinda had high expectations from this book, after having read Ghachar Ghochar, which the author translated. I knew what to expect in terms of language, narration and literature, and I am very pleased that this expectation is met.
Even when the author is talking about the idiosyncrasies of Indians traveling in groups in Europe, or the sex tourists to Uzbek or about the Shodh Yatra, he maintains a tone of impassive observation, which I liked. Its like here is there, in the moment, and observing i
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
A hilarious and original perspective on travelling with fellow Indians. Just the observational humour in this book was worth my time.
Anal Ghosh
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
The author delightfully sums up the essence of conducted tours - the group of individuals become a collective organism and the unit shapes the experience of a place being visited, while providing intimate access to each other's lives. The initial stories offer cliched yet funny account of guided tours in and outside India, but the book comes into its own when he takes us through the hills of North-East, the musical and spiritual exploration in Rajasthan, and the fascinating walkathons of the Sho ...more
Ankita Mehrotra
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book cracks you up at various points - super fun and highly recommended. I felt a connection with Srinath Perur. He speaks his mind wonderfully and you can't help but feel happy that someone finally observed similar things during travel in India/with Indians and articulated your thoughts so well. The book does move slowly in some chapters but a small price to pay - his portraits of people in India are spot on. ...more
Ravi Shekhar
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Full of trivia, very astute observations about the society, made me dread less about conducted tours(but still dread them), a fun ride till the end.
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is so much magic in every page of this absolute gem. Finished it 3 days back & still revelling in the invokes some serious wanderlust.
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a delight.
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Srinath Perur is the author of If It's Monday It Must Be Madurai and the translator of Ghachar Ghochar. He writes on travel, science, cities and culture for various publications. He lives in Bangalore. ...more

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