With the rain and the mist and the generally unhappy if dramatic weather, i’ve been spending a fair amount of time indoors reading. The books i’ve ploughed through so far (not including the buddhist ones) are:
Karma Cola by Gita Mehta
Eat Pray and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
India: A million mutinies now by VS Naipul
Of the three, Karma Cola was the most clever and entertaining and the travelogue by Naipul, really a series of interviews, being the most informative. The book by Gilbert is a reasonable confessional style travelogue and it has its good points (it’s inspired me to go to Bali for example) but is otherwise forgetable.
I’ve actually got a feeling that even though VS Naipul’s book is so substantial and complex in its various portraits of Indians that Karma Cola will actually stand the test of time best of all three. Even though it was written in the 70s and is about the 70s, Karma Cola is fresh and somehow still applicable whereas Naipul’s book already has a slightly dated feel about it in spite of the fact that it was written 10 years later. Perhaps, in its details, in its scholarship, Naipul’s book has little of the universality and quirkiness of Karma Cola, a universality that rises above its cleverness and its quips.
Anyway, i’ll be reading Karma Cola again and soon I think, after i finish Shantaram which I have just bought. It’s a second-hand pirated copy from a guesthouse and has been photocopied and bound well enough but with some of its pages been inserted upside down. i managed to knock 50 rupees off its price of 200 rupees by pointing out that that would reduce its resale value. Even though i havent read it yet, i have a feeling that its author would approve.