Tuesday, May 6, 2014
The Music Room: A Memoir by Namita Devidayal, 2009
This book describes the musical career of Namita Devidayal, a classical Indian singer, from the age of ten when she first began studying music through the rest of her life. It is rich with stories of the history of Indian classical music, including anecdotes about some legendary singers. A detailed look at one important aspect of Indian culture.
Kannan loaned me this book. It was recommended to him, and has a chapter on Bhutan, which he is visiting with his family. It also has a chapter on India. It is written with humor, some of which works and some of which fell flat for me. But it is an easy read and I found it very informative and sometimes even thought provoking. I'll include a picture of the Table of Contents below, which is in itself quite interesting.
The table of contents for The Geography of Bliss. The 10th chapter is America, Happiness is Home. Not sure what that means for a nomadic American like myself.
The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen, 2006
In sixteen linked essays, Nobel Prize--winning economist Amartya Sen discusses India's intellectual and political heritage and how its argumentative tradition is vital for the success of its democracy and secular politics. Another book that gave me a lot of insight into the history and culture if India, highly recommended.
The Heart of Yoga by T. K. V. Desikachar, 1999
Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who lived to be over 100 years old, was one of the greatest yogis of the modern era. Elements of Krishnamacharya's teaching have become well known around the world through the work of B. K. S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indra Devi, who all studied with Krishnamacharya. Krishnamacharya's son T. K. V. Desikachar lived and studied with his father all his life. Desikachar has based his method on Krishnamacharya's fundamental concept of viniyoga, which maintains that practices must be continually adapted to the individual's changing needs to achieve the maximum therapeutic value. Desikachar was Ravi's teacher. A very important book for those of us who want to develop a personal practice.
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, 2008
This novel won the 2008 Man Booker Prize. It is a black comedy, a story told from the lowest ranks of class and caste. Funny, unsettling, savage, cynical, authentic.
A Search in Secret India by Paul Bruton, 1934
The story of Paul Brunton's journey around India, living among yogis, mystics and gurus, some of whom he found convincing, others not. He finally finds the peace and tranquility which come with self-knowledge when he meets and studies with the great sage Sri Ramana Maharishi, whose ashram I visited in January.
The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth, 1986
Vikram Seth is a well known, very talented Indian author. This novel is set in the 1980s in the affluence and sunshine of Californias Silicon Valley. It is an exuberant and witty story of twenty-somethings looking for love, pleasure and the meaning of life. What makes it truly unique is that it is all written in verse. And it works! A great read, although not about India.