I saw the cover at the Daryaganj Sunday Book Market and I was sold over, more so every book at that particular shop was for Rs. 20. That is how I ended up with ‘Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure’ by Sarah Macdonald. Apparently, Ms. Macdonald had visited India in her twenties and had a horrible experience.
So when an airport beggar read her palm and told her she would return to India- and for love- she screamed “Never!” and gave him, the finger. … But eleven years later the prophecy comes true.
And therein lies a boring story. Five reasons why I didn’t like it.
5. The Ending is Predictable: In spite of the tone set by the author from the first few pages of the book you can see the ending from a mile and I am not convinced why it had to be that way. And the book has every formula that one can have in writing a book about India.
4. The Great Village of Delhi: I quite agree that Delhi is polluted, it has the people with worst driving sense in the world, living here could be nerve wrecking experience on the account of the harsh summer alone. But how can you convince me that Vasant Kunj was a village in 2000? That the author never found a McDonald’s or Wimpy or TGIF in 2000 but she saw more elephants and snake charmers in her stay of a few years than I have seen in my entire lifetime in India.
3. Bollywood Anyone: Ms. Macdonald has a brush with quite a few stars of Bollywood. Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan definitely make an appearance in this book. Yaaaaaawn. Another formula?
2. Cribbing, cribbing and cribbing: I know traveling in India is not easy and people do not have the same idea about personal space and the infrastructure sucks. But, if even one single sight of this country fails to move you and you cannot pen in two lines positive about it till we get to the last 10 pages, I get bored. I guess Ms. Macdonald should have gone to Disneyland after all, as she kept mentioning. It sounds more like her kind of place. She cannot see anything but red ass mangy monkeys everywhere. It seems we Indians drugged her and dragged her out of Austraila, instead of she coming out of her own sweet free will.
1. Religion, Religion and More Religion: More than half the book is about Ms. Macdonald’s brush with one religion or the other, while her boyfriend roams the sub-continent on various assignments for Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She is reluctant about religion initially, calls herself atheist and ends up at Kumb Mela. Then, she complaints that she found the place full of devotes and religious activities. What else will one find there? If you do not want religion, stay away from Kumbh like me! It is like saying I went to the Mall and found so many designer labels there! Later, this self proclaimed atheist embarks on a tedious (to the reader) journey of discovering the various religions like, Hinduism, Islam, Sufis, Parsis, Buddhism etc etc etc. Pick this one up at your own risk, don’t tell me later that I didn’t warn you.