Shantaram – Hows It’s Giving Me New Eyes For India

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Here I am in India soaking in all the sights sounds and smells. There’s never a dull moment here. In each moment there’s always something stirring, horns honking, and people on the streets selling food, trinkets, and clothes.

I started reading Shantaram on my way to LA but didn’t get very far. I’m kind of glad though now as I’m in India it’s definitely the best place to read it. If you haven’t read Shantaram then it’s a book you must read. A few friends told me about it some years ago and a close friend gave me a copy on my birthday but I’m so glad I didn’t start reading it until now.

The story is set in Mumbai and is about an Australian who escapes from prison and ends up in there and eventually ends up in the slums embroiled in the criminal underworld whilst also helping many people.

“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 was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, 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 its all you have got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.”

– Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram (The opening paragraph)

As soon as I read the opening paragraph the book just completely grabbed me. When I talk about the power of choice that pretty much sums up exactly what I’m talking about. I wish I could say that I always succeed in that endeavor but it’s the path I’ve chosen and the path that I believe in.

Through my failures comes a deeper understanding of that power to choose. It’s the power to forgive oneself during the failures that you gain and the power of forgive others. Then ultimately, you realize there is no such thing as failure and nothing to forgive.

The book goes into depth about the Indian people and culture and even though I’m Indian it’s given me a new way of looking at and a new understanding of the people and customs. The last time I came to India I was alone and wasn’t quite prepared for the challenges that faced me but now that book has become my companion and has given me the sense of preparation and excitement that I never felt before.

If you’re ever planning to go to India then Shantaram is the book that you must take to accompany you.

6 Responses

  1. Hey Amit,

    I was looking for a new read, so thanks for the recommendation. I like books with a message about the self and transformation. And the idea of freedom of the mind is one of my favorite. It’s a thing I’m focusing on achieving for a while now, and I can already tell from my progress it’s an edgy trait to have: to be free beyond all other things.

    Eduard
    .-= Ideas With A Kick´s last blog ..The key to become charismatic and what is CBT =-.

  2. Amit,
    This is captivating! I am not sure why i haven’t heard about it till now. Anyway, i am not surprised; i can point to a few other books which i never knew about but changed my life when we crossed paths.

    I will look for Shantaram sooner than later.
    Thanks
    .-= New at Christopher Kabamba’s blog ..3 HAPPINESS LIABILITIES to stay away from =-.

  3. Deborah says:

    I loved this book.I read it about a year ago.As i was entranced in the reading I saw it in my mind as a movie. What an amazing movie it would be. Thank you for reminding me of Shantaram. Such a powerful picture is painted by it. I would recommend anyone to read it.

  4. Amit Sodha says:

    Hey Deborah…It truly is an amazing book and I hope they do a good job of the movie! 🙂

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