Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shantaram

Goodbye Shantaram.. [EXPLORED]
Source of picture: Socceraholic
"It is forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would've annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive."
If there is one thing I hope for those who live in a perpetual state of discomfort, it is for the opportunity to find something or someone that changes their life for the better. Shantaram was my holy grail and it is by far the most soul inspiring book I've read to date. I urge everyone to find the time to read its many pages of Sufi wisdom, hope and faith. It took me just over a year to complete it but patience shouldn't be a terrible burden on those who want to read of stories great and grand. This book brings the meaning and importance of life, love, war, and friendship to untapped aspects of our hearts and souls.

It was difficult to choose just one quote to put at the beginning of this post. I settled on a passage Gregory David Roberts wrote anecdotally of being in a notorious Indian prison. He faced a wealth of terrible situations that were enough to destroy a human's mind and physical being. It was here that he gave great emphasis to the concept of 'forgiveness'. His many battles had taught him something fundamental about himself - not necessarily discovering it in the immediate aftermath of his consequences but in his conversations and connections with acquaintances, lovers, and other like-minded Indian companions who faced similar circumstances, or worse. And that is: forgiveness is a choice we always have, and when needed, acts as a weapon of freedom in its own right. 

The contours of our virtues are shaped by adversity.

As Roberts admits in one interview, a large majority of this book is fiction. But having said that, the basic ideas behind the pages are based on the culture, spirit and heart of India. In addition, Gregory's immediate connection to the country itself attributed to his adapting so quickly - having escaped from an Australian prison and finding himself in the welcoming arms of the Indian people. In times of sorrow, he found he had been blessed. He is able to give great examples of what the human mind and heart is capable of doing in times of distress; how our relationships are forged (as well as broken) with each decision that we make, and how our choices end up defining who we are as a person, a friend, a lover, and a fighter.

After reading the book, I jumped onto YouTube and sought out all the interviews that he gave to the media. My favourite is a speech he gave at a charity function, and it can be found here (it has been broken up into 6 parts but they can be easily followed). Furthermore, I have heard rumours that his sequel to Shantaram will be released sometime this year. I have my many fingers crossed.

*I'm extremely apologetic for the lack of posts in the last month. My internet connection decided to wander off into oblivion, leaving me utterly devastated that I couldn't watch all my favourite American TV shows online.

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