Saturday, June 25, 2011
I picked this book because the cover had Julia Roberts saying - "this is an amazing book and I gifted this to all my girl friends". Before you start passing a judgement let me just say - I agree. It is not a smart way to pick a book.
But - I did and ended up reading this one. and I recommend it wholeheartedly to both boys and girls.
This lady, Liz 34 years of age, goes through a pretty messy divorce. She is an accomplished writer/journalist living in New York - like one of the New York movies ( wait they did make a movie out of this - with Julia Roberts ). Has an affair that does not go well either.
So she takes off on a vacation for a year - split in 3 parts equally - Italy, India and Indonesia ( Bali actually ).
In Italy she joins a class to learn Italian. And she hunts for great food. I was hungry all the time while I was reading this part of the book - every page will have some dish or the other that she relished to the core. That is all she does - day in and day out and puts a lot of weight.
Then she moves to India - to an ashram near Mumbai. She was to spend 6 weeks and then go around India - but she ends up staying the full 4 months and never leaves this place. There are some hilarious bits here - how she does meditation and how her mind keeps getting in the way. If you are a beginner in meditation you should read this part - you are not alone.
Then something magical happens during her stay. She experiences ecstasy - the divine one. Till date I have only heard of this - but she explains it beautifully. She gets over her messy divorce finally - and is at peace with herself.
Then the story moves to Bali - where she had a deal with a renowned medicine man who had said during one of her earlier visits ( she is a journalist - and keeps travelling to interesting places - and during one of her trips she had met him ) - she can come and live with him to understand things better.
However the medicine man does not remember - but accepts her and she learns interesting things. She finds a place to stay and from here it is like a fiction. She is to find the balance in life in Bali - between the pleasure ( Italy ) and divine stuff ( India ). She gets lot of insights into the medicine man - he has mastered various types of meditation and can visit Heaven and Hell apparently.
It was interesting reading on Bali culture - Bali babies never touch the ground for the first 6 months of their life - as they are still Gods. After 6 months there is a ceremony to convert them to humans. Also they have only 4 names - The firstborn is "Wokalayan" (or Yan, for short), second is "Made," third is "Nyoman" or Komang (Man or Mang for short), and fourth is "Ketut" (often elided to Tut). [got this from wikipedia] The fifth kid on wards the names are repeated. So if someone tells their name you can easily place them where they are in the family.
The books ends well - she falls in love with a 55 year old divorced Brazilian and ends on a high note. I read that her second part of this book ( which I am not going to read - as 2nd part always suck ) is about this second phase of her relationship.
So that is it - got a nice mix of spiritual and meta physical, 2 interesting cultures ( Italy and Bali ) - all written very fluently and in an entertaining manner - good TP.
and for me - I have moved on to metaphysical stuff - I am conversing with God now for the third time - perhaps will write about it next.