Posts Tagged ‘Delhi’

Read Full Post »

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

A fellow backpacker’s eyes lit up as she passionately pulled Shantaram from her rucksack and declared it the best book she had read in years…

So much so she couldn’t bear to part with it; even if that meant carrying all 938 pages of it round South-East Asia for six months.

Inspired by her enthusiasm I got my hands on Shantaram at the next secondhand book shop I came across.

I quickly understood her reluctance to part with it…

Roberts, a convicted armed robber escapes from an Australian prison in the 1980s and while on-the-run ends up in India and involved with the mafia.

On its surface, with tales of drug smuggling, money laundering AND  passport forgery the book sounds more like an overdramatic Bollywood script than a true story, which unbelievably it is.

More impressive though, if you look past the guns and glamour, is Roberts’ ability to capture the essence of the people and places he encounters in India; the individuals whom he befriends, betrays and ultimately comes to love.

Shantaram puts you through an unimaginable spin cycle of emotions as you fall further and further into the seedy underbelly of India – one moment feeling your heart race with shock and disbelief, and a chapter later wiping a tear from your eye as Roberts offers glimpses of the  tenderness and innocence which struggle to exist in his dangerous world.

Shantaram offers an extraordinary insight into an India of the past, and left me itching to immerse myself in its hustle and bustle, and most of all to experience the whirlwind of emotions which a visit to India seems to invariably invoke.

A must-read for all travel and adventure lovers.

© Ianthe Butt 2011

Read Full Post »