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Thursday, February 11, 2010

So Much To Say...

So, this is an update that is looong overdue.. but what can I say.. It's senior year of college, my last semester, and I'm bumping up the studying to prep for Grad school in the fall! :)

I'm going to begin with a book I read after my aforementioned trip to India - simply because I don't have much to say about it; "2 States: The Story of My Marriage" by Chetan Bhagat is an entertaining book. There is not much in terms of writing, but there is a lot in terms of laugh. He writes an enjoyable book about what happens when two people in India get married and come from different states. This is a very common occurence in today's day, and the folks that go through it face almost what he describes (minus the embellishments I feel). It's a feel good book because the families eventually do consent, and a hope for a united India perseveres. But all in all, this subliminal message is left quite subliminal for most who will read this book. However, it is still funny, it reads really quickly, and will leave you laughing and "aww-ing."

***

My trip to India was a lovely one, and the Kindle an equally lovely companion! I read my first book on the Kindle during my trip - Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.

There is a great irony in reading a book about the mountains of Pakistan and the villages that are there when you are sitting in a big city of India. I had to put aside my sentiments as an Indian with the whole Pakistan issue and read this book as Mr. Mortenson experienced it - the American way.

There is not much to say about the book except that it is simply phenomenal. It totally exemplifies the meaning of "one person can make a difference." Greg is just a mountain climber, and a Nurse by profession - but along his trek he accidently lands into a village where he witnesses something quite unusual. He is taken by the village elder to where the kids go to "school." He sees a large flat portion of the glacier this village is built on, and the kids are sitting on the ground, doing math sums in the snow with sticks - there is no adult in sight. Greg finds out that the Pakistani government never sent this village - Korphe - a teacher, so the teacher from a neighboring village - miles and miles away - comes to teach these children once a week, and the rest of the week they sit their alone, unsupervised, quietly doing their work.

Now - think about your own kids, or when you were a kid - how likely is this scenario?? I for one know I would never do that, and I remember my childhood in an American school as quite the opposite of the scenario Greg runs into. Now imagine, all of this within the last decade? People, in some parts of the world are living in what we call "primitive" conditions - and no one knows about it. If it wasn't for Greg's accident, neither would he have known! Well the book is all about Mortenson's experience with the Korphe village of Pakistan, his relationship with the locals, his efforts to gather funding, and the like. This is not a story of some rich man throwing money at poverty.. It's about an ordinary Joe who unknowingly comes across the rest of his life in a mountain far away from home. It's pretty darn cool! I personally cannot wait to read the follow up book to this: Stones into Schools.

Going back briefly to my trip to India and the concurrent reading of this book, perhaps a visit to my other blog: http://the-soul-searcher.blogspot.com/ will reveal my thoughts/feelings/soul searching on the topic.

After a book like Three Cups of Tea, it is really hard to start another book immediately. Although Stones into Schools is out, and available on the Kindle, I have refrained from purchasing it so soon. The first book's impact is still lingering in my mind, and I'm not ready for that "I can't put this book down because it is so good" read just yet. I do have classes after all! lol.

So, in the mean time, I am collecting some free books on my Kindle, and making a list of what books I want to read. And enjoying my way through "Swami and Friends" by RK Narayan. It's a cute little book with short stories about a character named "Swami." This kid goes through friendships, bullying problems, arguments with his parents, story time with granny, exams, etc. - all the basics of growing up. I wish I had read this book as a kid, but since I didn't I am glad I am doing it now - It's a nice trip down memory lane. Totally recommended!

P.s. I am such a big fan of Kindle now it is unbelievable.. why didn't I get it sooner?! :)
P.P.S For those considering a Kindle worried about having to pay a lot for books they could buy cheaper in used book stores or get from their library, consider the fact that I was able to find 100+ books, non-classic, for free for my Kindle in pdf format. And most classics are available right on Amazon (put together by Google or Project Gutenberg) free for the kindle. Also, a lot of libraries (unfortunately not mine) now have an e-book lending system!

Well.. until next time! :)