After several years of reading books, I had dropped the habit and confined myself to more interesting pursuits in life, that is till the time I came across this book, Shantaram. For many years I had not finished a book without putting it down and doing all the myriad other things that come across in the normal course of a day. However this epic as I would like to call it, was so compelling that I took it with me to the dining table and my eyes never rested till the time they were drowsy or some other pressing work called my attention. This book by Gregory David Roberts made me realise, that the part of me which I considered dead and long gone was still alive, that given a passion to pursue, I would doggedly commit, to its very end. Unfortunately such triggers that arouse our passion are very few and far in between.
The book was the result of a single man’s unfailing determination in the face of insurmountable odds and this, I know, is scarcely an ode to commemorate the achievements of this man whom I consider one of the greatest story tellers who lived the life in his stories.The struggles that he took to even have his book written, leave alone getting it published, is worthy of the highest honour.
It is quite some time since I read the book, but the trials and tribulations of the man and the fate of the characters Karla, Khaderbhai and Didier post reading his epic have always instilled a sense of curiosity in me. It is as if this man had taken us in to his personal life through his narrative style and transformed us into a world where we lived amongst the characters accepting them into our hearts, sharing with them the emotions of sorrow in their pains and joy in their happiness.
Words fail me in describing the life of this man whose misfortunes led him to be a drug addict and propelled him into a life of misery, to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of his previous existence to commandeer the heights of literary world and stand to us as an icon of a man’s tremendous will to live and weather it out in spite of all the odds that life could throw at him. To you Gregory, I pay my respects.