Former Head of School, Kaushik Rai (Br 09-16) has been busy in lockdown, writing an intriguing book based on his travels to India, which he undertook during his gap year. During this year after leaving King’s, Kaushik went to India to follow in the footsteps of the Indian myth, the Ramayana. Kaushik was inspired to undertake this journey because he loved the myth of Rāma – Rāma is the principle character of the Ramayana – and this book documents not only his experience of the trail through India, but also the study of the myth as a text. The Trail of Rāma brings together both Kaushik’s experiences during his travels following in the footsteps of the myth of Rāma, alongside the intellectual study of the text. The trail as Kaushik did it was some 3,500km across India, which took him two months to travel.
Before Kaushik left for India, he talked about his planned travels to Mrs Le Marchand, his English teacher at King’s, saying that he intended to write a blog, before jokingly adding “who knows, it may even turn into a book”. As it transpired, Kaushik has now self-published the book he did ultimately write, on Amazon.
Kaushik told us, “I’ll always be grateful for the love of reading and writing that Mrs Le Marchand instilled in me, and the support she gave me throughout my time at School and beyond.”
The Trail of Rāma is an epic journey. It traces the footsteps of Rāma during his fourteen-year exile in India. During Rāma’s fourteen year exile, he travelled from ashram to ashram throughout India and then went on his search for Sītā after she was abducted by Rāvana. Kaushik undertook this trail, bringing to life characters such as Rāma, Laskhmana, Sītā, Rāvanva, Vāli, and Jatāyu and all those sadhus who have dedicated their lives to this great epic of India called the Rāmāyana.
Sarah Le Marchand (Hon OV) was delighted to learn that Kaushik had completed writing this book and told us, “Kaushik was one of those students who was genuinely a pleasure to teach: lively, curious, conscientious, good-humoured, humble, responsive and prepared to challenge and debate. I’m delighted that he has published this fascinating book which reflects his scholarly interests and sense of adventure.”
Kaushik has now completed his first degree – History – at UCL and is now studying for a Masters, also at UCL, in Political Thought and Intellectual History. He shared with us the strangeness of studying at university in the current time, during the pandemic, saying, “all my teaching for my Masters has been online – strange to be in a cohort of 30 most of whom I still haven’t met. I have really missed out on the social side, not just in terms of seeing friends but even being in the same room when having a class makes a big difference. But these are all small things in the grand scheme and I’m really loving the Masters.”
Of his time at King’s Kaushik told us, “I have only fond memories from my time at King’s. I found my love for History and writing at King’s, but I found lifelong friends too. My teachers inspired me and the School always supported me. Thank you King’s.”
We wish Kaushik all the very best in his Masters and look forward to hearing more from this budding young author.