Last year a friend of mine came back from India with 495 Rupee book called Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. I read the first few paragraphs and had trouble putting it down, because it was so good. But after nearly 75 pages, other things got in the way, and just recently I have allowed myself to rediscover the book.
Let me share with you the first paragraph:
“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I as chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: Free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.”
It is a powerful personal story. It is also a vivid and convincing description about many parts of India that we will probably never know first hand.
I have shared two other passages on recent episodes of the Learn Hindi Daily Show:
Observations about the difference in behavior when boarding a train vs. riding on it:
Interpretation of the famous Indian head wiggle:
There are many other parts that I would like to share and discuss about.
I would be very interested in knowing what people who have in India think about the book. Which parts seem correct, and which parts seem completely off?
If you have read the book or are reading the book, please leave a comment in this forum.
If you are looking to experience India without leaving your house (and for less than $20), then I would recommend this book.