Friday, June 29, 2018

The Last Mughal: Book Club Discussion Questions! {India}

[We had this book chosen at our book club and since I couldn't find a ready list of book club questions for this book, nor did general questions apply, I made a list myself. Posting this, hoping it could be useful to someone, someday!]

William Dalrymple & his colleagues thoroughly researched as many as 20,000 virtually unused Urdu and Persian documents known as Mutiny Papers. The Last Mughal is a revelatory work- and allow 1857 in Delhi to be seen for the first time from a properly Indian perspective, and not just from the British sources through which to date it has usually been viewed. 
- Does the book read like a collection of facts or more like a well-written, engaging narrative?

The Last Mughal: Exploring India through Books, Book club Discussion Questions, Globetrotting Mom

The author says “Of the great cities of the world, only Rome, Istanbul and Cairo can even begins to rival Delhi for the sheer volume and density of historic remains”
- What is your impression of pre-1857 Delhi?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Patagonian Rain Forests {HuiloHuilo, Chile}

What can I say? We’ve got fond of road trips. We drove for 12 hours south of Santiago to the middle of the Patagonian Rainforest! We rented a quaint little forest cabin in Huilohuilo Biological Reserve (They have fabulous super expensive hotel rooms too, if you fancy sending some dough!), with a fireplace, cozy bed and a little kitchenette to cook up some ready to eat risotto and be blissfully content with cups of tea every now and then. 

Not that we stayed in the cabin for too long (but I must admit, a nice house to relax in is a top priority for our holidays these days). We took long walks to the waterfall, checked out their deer circuit, kayaked on the beautiful Lake Pirihueico and had cold beers in their brewery, admidst the tall, tall trees. 

And it rained! on day we were heading back. A serious downpour that reminded us of Bombay. I guess people from Bombay are the only crazy people on the planet that get overjoyed by how nature around us changed every time it rains!   

Our next stop was further south, in the lake towns of Puerto Varas & Frutillar, but more about that later. 

Patagonian Rain Forest {HuiloHuilo, Chile} by Globetrotting Mom

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Racism goes both ways {USA}

Small Great Things |  Jodi Picoult
3/5 stars

I cannot tell you the number of times I rolled my eyes saying ‘Oh for God’s sake this could NOT have happened. This many times to the same person? Is she serious?”. I thought maybe Picoult’s trying to put all kinds of racist experiences in one book for the reader to get a whole view. But who am I to comment on that? How am I supposed to know how much is too much? Especially since even a little is way too much to leave a scar in your mind?

The part of the world were I come from, discrimination is typically religion driven. Yet it’s different from racism. For example a staunch hindu brahmin family will probably not want their daughters to marry a muslim and they may not be be willing to hire muslim cook, yet I doubt they’ll instinctively pull their purses towards themselves when a muslim walks by. A family looking for a ‘beautiful’ bride for their son will turn their noses up to a dusky girl, but I doubt they will be wary that she’ll shoplift. 

The discrimination is appalling either way, yet I didn’t know how appalling  racism was since I never had a chance to witness it first hand. {C’mon, when I had a black friend at 16 and all I could think of was how cool she was and how I wish I could have a even a bit of that swagger!}

But the book’s title on my Kindle is literally “ Small Great Things: To Kill A Mockingbird for the 21st Century”, i.e. The publisher put the review in the in the title itself! No kidding. Although I LOVE Jodi Picoult (Not for “My Sister’s Keeper”, but for beautifully written “Leaving Time”) I have to be honest here. It’s not just the title that’s a bit trite (it’s inspired by a Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr quote though), the material sometimes is over the top too (it even has a Bollywood-ish twist at the end!)

The only black labour & delivery nurse in the staff is barred from caring for the baby of a white supremacist. Then the baby goes into cardiac arrest when she’s the only one around that moment. She hesitates, yet does all she can to save the baby when the code is called. All the parents see is her aggressively pounding on the dying child and they file a lawsuit accusing her of murder.
Review of Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things: Racism goes both ways {Globetrotting with Books}

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Not hereditary, Fear is Contagious {Colombia}

The Sound of  Things Falling | Juan Gabriel Vásquez

3/5 stars

Globetrotting Mom: Not hereditary, Fear is Contagious {Colombia Historical Fiction: The Sound of  Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez}

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bhutto, Pirs & Pawindahs {Pakistan}

A Season for Martyrs | Bina Shah

The Wandering Falcon | Jamil Ahmad 

Both 4.5/5 stars

Haroon screamed once, then fell silent; but instead of catching his comrade in his arms and dragging him away with him, Ali scrambled to his feet, put his hands over his ears to block out the pounding sound of the bomb, and ran. He wished that he too could die, just to escape from the sounds that couldn’t possibly have come from human throats: moans and whimpers at once animalistic and raw, like the keening of scores of maddened, hysterical wolves. 

What is like? Being in the middle of a bomb blast? What is it like being in the middle of a resistance movement and lathi charge? Being dragged by the cops to be taken to the police station?

What is it like? Being a descendent of affluent land owners, the most hated ‘feudals' that are constantly labeled as the root cause of all of the country’s problems? Being in a high secretive, scandalous relationship with a hindu girl? And what is it like, to be emotional wrung, pining for your own father, who left you and your family to start another?

Bhutto, Pirs & Pawindahs: Bina Shah & Jamil Ahmad's Books on Pakistan Historical Fiction, part of Globetrotting with Books Series

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Wooden Cabin, Fireplace & Hot Springs! {Villaricca, Chile}

There was a time when we frequented Mumbai-Pune by train, because our little kid wanted to run all the time, undertaking an 800 km long road trip was unthinkable! 

But we did it! For the Chilean dieciocho holidays (dieciocho literally meaning 18!) and we found this b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l, absolutely gorgeous wooden cabin in the woods, somewhere in the foothills of the smoky, snow covered Villaricca volcano.

Amaretto tea in the morning sunlight, infinite pet love, the howling Puelche wind at night, the romantic fireplace to keep the wooden house perfectly warm, soaking in some vitamin D on the hammock, dipping in the hot springs and lazy walks around the town. In all a perfect getaway from Santiago for a long weekend. Here are some pictures!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Quote- For Life!

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