Book Review: 1700 In 70: A Walk for a Cause by Gita Balakrishnan

If I had to describe 1700 In 70: A Walk for a Cause by Gita Balakrishnan in one word, my choice of word would be ‘inspiring.’ This book chronicles Balakrishnan’s extraordinary and challenging journey, which can only be described as extraordinary. As the author herself puts it, “1700 in 70 is for those who live life as a quest.” 

1700 In 70 is not just another travelogue. It’s a book where every word, every anecdote, offers valuable lessons. This 200-page book is a profound account of the author’s journey of self-awareness, self-discovery, and unwavering determination. 

Undertaking a 1700km long-kilometer walk is no easy task, especially for someone in their fifties battling various ailments. And yet, Balakrishnan makes it seem entirely achievable!

In the year 2021, Balakrishnan embarked on a challenging mission – a 1700-kilometre walk from Kolkata to Delhi. “Walk for Arcause,” was Balakrishnan’s effort to examine the role of designers, professionals, academics, and students and inspire them to imbibe social responsibility into their professional practice. 

The author goes back in time and shares intimate details of her life and her journey. While there’s no doubt it was heartbreaking to read about the sexual abuse and trauma she had to face, I was inspired by her spirit and resilience.

Here’s an inspiring quote from the book that beautifully describes the author’s never-say-die spirit. 

“Can meaning really be found in brutality? Can any sense be made out of it? Maybe not, but that is one way of dealing with the bizarre. I thank the high heavens each day for the way I emerged from this experience—stronger, without feeling guilty, angry, frustrated, or depressed enough to ruin the rest of my life the way many beautiful lives have been ruined and are being ruined as you are reading this.”

This immersive experience takes readers on a journey through various nooks and corners of India. The diverse landscape, varied tapestry of cuisines and cultures, and shades of humanity are a journey worth remembering. Balakrishnan’s well-documented and detailed account encourages readers to introspect and question pre-established notions and come up with more socially responsible solutions. 

I particularly enjoyed reading the author’s “My Ten Commandments for Realizing a Quest,” and learning about the incredible people she met during her walk. Each of them is a real-life hero. Hats off to them!

The book is a treasure trove of worthy and thought-provoking lines. I am quoting here a paragraph I found to be quite inspiring – 

‘There is no finishing line. The day I think I have reached or arrived at my life’s goal will be my last. The destination may be the same for many but the journey to any destination is a personal one. That is yours and yours alone. I realized that it can be hugely empowering once you own your journey up to that fact. You have the choice to design that journey, to fill it with the tweeting of birds and the joy of being, to embellish it with the friendship of co-travellers, or to travel a solo path, to lose your way and still find yourself in that loss.’

Balakrishnan’s 1700 In 70: A Walk for a Cause is a testament to her unwavering determination and will to succeed despite all hurdles. It’s a must-read for everyone! I cannot recommend this book enough. 

Rating: 5/5

Review author: Chandra Sundeep is an author, blogger, and book reviewer. Her short stories have been featured in various anthologies, online portals, and literary magazines. In 2023, she received the Bharat Award, recognizing her dedication to impactful storytelling. Additionally, she has been a recipient of esteemed awards such as the Asian Literary Society’s Sagar Memorial Award, Wordsmith Award, and Gitesh-Biva Memorial Award in 2021 and 2022.

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