Strangers in My Sleeper: Rail Journeys and Encounters on Indian Railways

The gleaming iron threads that snake through the Indian subcontinent are the arteries transporting its lifeblood: a billion-plus people going about their daily lives.

To Wellington journalist Peter Riordan the railways were the perfect means by which to melt among the people and engage them in conversation - to talk to the real, modern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Strangers in my Sleeper follows him around a vast land on a hard wooden seat and introduces his fellow travellers - sadhus, businessmen, flirting couples, secret policemen, holidaymakers, government officials, salesmen and many others.

Their views on life, love, politics, progress and commerce, together with the ever-changing view through his window over the jungles, deserts, plains, mountains and teeming cities, paint an exquisitely coloured portrait of a people in motion.