There always comes a point in life when one suddenly becomes acutely aware of one’s mortality. That we are all going to die sooner or later is something we live with every day. But when Death turns up in the neighbourhood, makes friends with someone close to you, persuades them to hop onto his bike, and rides off into the sunset, it hits you like a ten-ton truck. Till then, you’ve been coasting along, your mind refusing to budge from your twenties and resolutely ignoring all signs of wear and tear on body parts. There isn’t a thing that popping a pill won’t resolve — at least that’s what you keep thinking, until you hit the inevitable roadblock in modern medicine, and a body that refuses to yield up its mysteries.
Being at these crossroads, one reaction is to grab Life by the horns and race on its tail. Another would be to sit under a tree and watch Life rush by at its tearing pace. Yet another would be to plod along in Life’s tracks, wondering if the trip is worth it, and hoping that it is.
Eat Pray Love would probably be a great book to read at this stage. After all, it is one woman’s search for answers to THE questions of her life. Drowning in the pleasures of Italian cuisine, discipline in the spirituality of an Indian ashram, and balancing the equation out in Bali — that appears to have worked for her.
Personally, I really liked the Italian and Indonesian bits, though the Indonesia bit seemed a tad hurried towards the end. The Indian bit was a huge disappointment, for I had not expected such a narrow portrayal of Pray. India is so rich in spirituality in so many different ways; at least a glimpse of the richness was what I wanted to read. I felt like I’d been invited to a dinner buffet, and all they were serving was tomato soup.
In fact, a suspicion crossed my mind that perhaps this whole book was indirectly funded by the ashram/organization that the author describes. That seemed to make a lot of sense, given that her writing seems especially forced in this section, as opposed to the breezy style peppered with humour in the other two sections. And the fact that the organization faced (or is facing?) a lot of flak for some of its activities, and actually has a tell-all website for those who have left it!
Anyway, the book is definitely interesting. Though the entire journey is quite cliched, the details save it and make it an eminently engaging book. It does throw up some (common) questions for which you might want answers yourself. And the thought of embarking on an exotic journey to find the answers is fascinating and inviting!
Perhaps I shall go to AMritsar, AMsterdam, and AMherst in my quest. Because I AM! Aham 😀