When he is diagnosed with cancer in the silence of the hospital room broken only by the swish of cars outside Italian writer Tiziano Terzani realizes that his whole life has been one long ride on a merry-go-round where he has always journeyed without a ticket. Now for the first time the ticket collector has come to demand his dues.
At first Terzani turns to Western medicine for a cure but a question soon begins to haunt him: is cancer as the doctors say an enemy that needs to be destroyed or is it a friend one can talk to? Travelling had always been a way of life for him so he decides to make another trip in search of a solution - to India. This final ride turns out to be very different though. And more difficult. Because every step every choice - often between reason and faith between science and magic - is inextricably linked to his own survival. As he crisscrosses the country from an ashram in Coimbatore to a hut in Almora the external journey in search of a cure transforms into an inner journey and a return to the divine roots of man. Then one day as he looks at the sun rising over the mountains he stumbles upon the one truth that has eluded him: death is as desirable and eternal as life itself.
A bestseller in Europe this is a book about modern medicine and alternative cures and the quest to understand the true meaning of mortality.