Shantaram #NowReading

I had always wanted to read this book, but was always daunted by the size of it. Not that I am afraid of big books, but I prefer to begin reading them when I know I can read them slowly and peacefully, taking in a page, savoring it and then musing on its splendor (well only if it is a book worth savoring, of course 😉 ) Shantaram is one book definitely worth savoring. This almost autobiographical account of an Australian gentleman (the writer, Gregory David Roberts, once the most wanted man in Australia for armed robbery 😛 ) traces his journey through life after he escapes from his high security prison cell and ends up in Mumbai with a forged passport. He befriends his travel guide, Prabaker and explores the famous (and the not so famous) places of the city, falls in love with a pretty but mysterious woman,Karla, visits the travel guide’s village at his behest and ends up spending six months there, gets rechristened as ‘Shantaram’ (as he is blessed with peaceful happiness according to Prabaker’s mother), gets drunk and robbed of all his money on his way back, and ends up living in a Mumbai slum. Even after making enough money to get out of the filthy slum, he continues to live there and develops a deep and unexpected connect with the people there. Eventually he is befriended by Abdel Khader Khan, a mafia boss (fondly known as Khaderbhai, and an intriguing character himself). I have read only this far, and it has been one hell of a ride ! I am really looking forward to know how the story unfolds. The book has amazing pieces of thoughtful musings and words of wisdom that keeps reminding Shantaram to rise to become the man who he isn’t but indeed wants to be.. Here’s a couple of such pieces:

“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.”

“Love is the opposite of power. That’s why we fear it so much.”