Saturday, November 29, 2008

A simple journey

The Kalahari typing school for men, ( Alexander McCall Smith) is another story of women seeking independence. This is the first book I have read in the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, and unfortunately it is the book no 4. I believe the series is now on to the eigth or tenth in the series. But the book did not leave one clutching at straws, trying to guess the origins of the story. Unusually, it stands on its own feet, quietly independent. The story is narrated very simply, which is the book’s main attraction.

The main protagonist, Botswana’s only woman detective, Precious Ramotswe, gets some competition from a man, and also gets an unusual case. Somebody wants to her to dig into his own past in an attempt to correct some mistakes. This part really did get my attention. How many of us introvert and attempt to even think about our past? The regrets and broken relationships which need not have happened, and then try to undo it? Can the past be undone? Probably not, which is why, I think, most people do not even try. It takes one of unusual courage to even attempt this.

Unfortunately this attempt to compensate for the past turns out to be the most disappointing part of the book. This subject is not explored to its full potential, and one is left with a feeling that the author was in a hurry to bring matters to a highly unsatisfactory conclusion.

The book’s writing style is a bit colonial, which has its attractions. I doubt if Botswana is a paradise it is made out to be. A relative of mine is posted in Botswana, and I must check out the locale with him. He is in the army.

Odds and Ends

I just read the lead article in the guardian, prominently advertising the fate of girls in India. Delhi had quite a few honourable mentions for a dismal girl to boy ratio. The problem is endemic amongst the poor and the rich. And this problem continues till the social fabric changes to support the girl child’s education and economic independence

Delhi Chronicles

It is interesting to note the number of places of worship in Delhi. If we count all the religions then the number is satisfactory. The significant ones add up to quite a total. Start with the Jama Masjid in the walled city, and take in the Darga of Nizamuddin Auliya, the sufi saint, in the south of Delhi. The Sikh gurdwaras in Central Delhi; the Gururdwara Rakabganj and Bangla Sahib. The Hindus have their Akshardham Mandir in the east, Hanuman’s temple in central Delhi and the Lotus temple in the south. The Churches include Sacred Heart and the Cathedral Church of Redemption in central Delhi.
This tells you that Delhi is very much cosmopolitan, and one can easily spend a day or two in visiting the religious places

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