I read this book few years ago and I had written about it during my earlier days of blogging. But I wanted to go back and read “Eat, pray, love” once again. Somehow I felt that this book had helped me in making some decisions about my life back then and I was again at crossroads and reading this book helped me once again. I have found a definite connection between myself and author Elizabeth Gilbert and that is a source of great inspiration for me. The way she handled her life and came out as winner after all the trials is amazing as well as motivating.
I also found incidents that I had not noticed during my first reading or not written about them during my earlier blog post. She manages to be funny even while writing most difficult phases of her life. The idea of writing a letter to God and getting it signed by all her well wishers in imagination is great. The way she is able to make friends everywhere in the world while travelling gives me something to think about. I have never been able to do anything like that. She celebrates thanksgiving dinner with her friends in Italy and it gets emotional for everybody present even though many of them are strangers.
I can go on writing about each chapter and how it made me think. It requires guts for somebody to give up everything and go on such a journey and then make millions of dollars and fans by writing about it. I wonder whether I will be able to take up this kind of journey in my life. You really need to be passionate about things and willing to give up pleasures of life and seek pleasure in simple and different things. I have to also make those butter fried potatoes some day that she made one night to satisfy her physical hunger but in the end she had to think about her Brazilian friend in the bed to satisfy herself.
I had heard of Rudyard Kipling and his Jungle Book series but I had not read any book by him when I came across “Kim” and the picture on the cover attracted me. The picture of an old Lama with so many lines on the face as though they are telling tales of his getting old along with a kid who is curious about everything in life itself tells you that it is going to be an interesting book. This book is also considered one of the best 100 books of 20th century.
This is a story of Kim who is son of British parents but is orphan and lives a life of street kid in Lahore in late 19th century India. He came across an aged Tibetan Lama who is in quest of enlightenment and both of them take a journey on Grand Trunk Road. Kim is also doing some work for British Secret Service who were in conflict with Russians over central asia at that time after the Afghan war. The story has many twists and turns where Kim is identified and separated from Lama and sent to school but they meet again and go on another quest. The mix of secret service work that Kim is doing and the spiritual quest that Lama is pursuing is very interesting.
The important aspect of the book is in its detailed account of India at that time. Kipling has done a great job in describing the lifestyle, people, markets, roads, cities of that time. I have read some other books of similar genre like “The Far Pavilions” by M.M.Kaye and these books always excite me. I would rate Far Pavilions to be much better.
Of course, I was also very much interested in the city of Umballa (Ambala) which is an important milestone in journey of Kim. Reading about the city of 19th century was great because I myself have a very deep connection with this city.
This travelogue by John Steinbeck is very close to my heart, not because of great writing but due to the idea of such a travel. Literature wise, many of his other books like “East of Eden” are really great, but “Travels with Charley: In search of America” makes you crave for such a journey. During the end of his career, he took a road trip in a specially designed camper named Rocinante along with his French Standard poodle “Charley” around the United States. This book is the story of that journey.
His journey started from Long Island, New York and followed the outer boundary of America from Maine to the Pacific Northwest, down to California, across to Texas and then back to New York. His idea was to see his country with his own eyes about which he had written so much and he wanted to do it alone but still took Charley along with him for some company. He has written about the places he visited and people he met during this time. He was trying to understand the people of his country but in the end he felt that they did not live upto his expectations. The book ends in an irony where after travelling for the length and breadth of country he gets lost in traffic of New York at his return.
For me, just the idea of such a journey itself is fascinating and while reading the book, I had silently made a promise to myself that someday, I will take up such a journey.
I have always felt that travel and writing/reading are somehow related to each other. Travel to different places open up your eyes to the world and reading during travel is also a great pasttime. But this is a material for some other writing that I will do some other time.