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Bhang Journeys
Sat Mar 30, 6:00 PM
Speaking Tiger & Lamakaan
A reading and celebration of Akshaya Bahibala's new book, 'Bhang Journeys: Stories, Histories,
Trips and Travels'. The evening will include a reading by Ms Jennifer Larson, US Consul General, Hyderabad, followed by Q&A; and a book signing with the author, Akshaya Bahibala.

Published by Speaking Tiger, this is a fascinating, racy book on the most popular intoxicant of
India and the world. Packed with anecdotes, interviews, confessions, legends, facts, and data, this is unlike any book on the subject written in India.

About the book
For ten years, from 1998 to 2008, Akshaya Bahibala was in the grip of bhang, of ganja—drinking
it, smoking it, experiencing the highs and lows of an addict on Puri’s beaches with hippies,
backpackers and drop-outs from France and Japan, Italy and Norway. Then he drew back from
the edge and tried to make a life, working as a waiter, a salesman, a bookseller. He starts this
journal-cum-travel book with startling, fragmented memories of his lost decade. From these, he
moves to stories about people across Odisha whose lives revolve around ganja-bhang-opium.
There is the owner of a government-approved bhang shop who takes pride in selling the purest
bhang available and
insists it can make people as forgiving and non-violent as Jesus. The opium cutter who learned as
a boy how to massage a lump of opium with mustard oil and carve it into little tablets. The girl
who survived cholera by licking opium and became a lifelong addict. The goldsmith whose
opium de-addiction card entitles him to 20 grams a month, but who wishes it were 25. The ganja
farmer who came from Punjab in a helicopter. A young man, a victim of ganjaand-bhang-fuelled
paranoia, who believes Indian and American spies are out to get him. Excise department men
who go to destroy ganja plantations and are beaten up by angry villagers. Interspersed with these
stories are official data on opium produced, seized and destroyed; UN reports on the medicinal
properties of cannabis; and a veteran’s recipes for bhang laddoos and sharbat.
Full of surprises, utterly distinctive, this entertaining, often trippy book of memories, journeys,
facts and figures about the popular intoxicant is both a celebration and a warning.
About the Author

Akshaya Bahibala is a bookseller, poet, publisher and library activist. He is the co-founder of
Walking BookFairs, an independent bookstore and publishing house and one of the country’s
most popular bookmobile, has traveled more than 35,000 kilometers across 20 states to
spread the love of reading. Akshaya has written four books in Odia. This is his first book in
English. When he isn’t travelling across India, he lives in Bhubaneswar with his partner Satabdi
and friend Malu and their cats.