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Monday, March 19, 2007

holy cow ...book review


Holy Cow by Sarah Macdonald :

This is the latest book I read .
This also my first book review ,
As I read books of all kinds I felt reviews would be the next genre to attempt ,so bear with me and read on .
Sarah an Australian vows that she would never return to India after her first backpacker visit to the land of beggars and heat .
Exasperated with her Indian adventure the last words of a beggar cum astrologer in front of the airport in Mumbai who tells her that she would return to know the country truly rankles .
Strangely it becomes true as she does so with her partner and later husband who works for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation .
This time she goes through the rollercoster ride of the country and emerges enlightened .
This description forms the novella .
Racy and raunchy the book is addictive and exposes the underbelly of our beloved nation while slowly India casts its spell by its diversity ,dichotomies ,and daredevildry .
As journalist husband abandons her for long period of loneliness during his mad rush to gather news from remote corners of Afganghistan and Nepal Sarah saunters to taste the spiritual supermarket of India .
From Sikhism to Judaism ,Parsis and their tower of death ,Sufi saints , Amirthananda mayi ,Satya Sai baba and vellangani beckon her attention .
Imbibing this soup of spirituality she skips and skims their surfaces never delving into their depths ,just being a chronicler deeply interested in all .
The rancid waters of body bloated Ganga in Varanasi ,the icy tumble down Risikesh ,the nude naga sadhus of the Kumbh Mela ,the sweating father of hot and crowded velangani ,cotton wisp bearded sufi saints and mullahs of old mosques, and the benign smiling Dalai Lama in Dharamsala she leaves nothing behind .
Bollywood brings her to the big B ,Aamir khans bedroom eyes stare at her while she converses with a cigarette smoking Priety zienta .
She signs off with a sad departure back to her empty and neat Australia with the blue skies and pure air but the whiff of India makes her comment
“ India is the land of the profane and the profound ,the land where spirituality and sanctimoniousness sit miles apart .”
A baby conceived during her last week in India she says would remind her always of the land she lived in and what it gave and what it took .
A worthy read indeed .

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