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shantaram california, originally uploaded by skippy haha.

i just read this book shantaram by gregory david roberts & found it wildly entertaining and informative.

the main character escaped from jail in australia and went to bombay india to live there as a fugitive, where he got into black market crime and set up a free medical clinic to treat his neighbors in the bombay slum. strangely enough the author did just the same thing in real life.

his description of the bombay slum where he lived was eye-opening for me in that it was very orderly and clean and tidy and all the thousands of inhabitants were peaceable and neighborly with each other. some parts of the book were too graphic for me describing the ways he was beaten and tortured in the indian jail, but i just skimmed those paragraphs without forming mental images & just said ‘thank god it’s not me, thank god it’s not me’.

he met some fascinating characters along the way & the book gives great insight into bombay organized crime and indian culture in general. i have no desire to go to india myself at this point, and i appreciate the way this book took me there in a third-party way.

the book is 950 pages and i read it in 3 days, that’s how quickly it flows. thanks to the mappy camper for suggesting it, i highly enjoyed reading this.