I don't know why I'm so fascinated with India.
But I am.
Totally, obsessively bewitched and fascinated by it. If India was a person, I'd be the creepy stalker she'd be thinking about taking a restraining order out against.
They say everyone has a dream. Mine is to spend six months or a year in South India someday, learning to cook from an old lady in a village.
Because I'm so India-focused, a couple of times each year, I treat myself to a travel book about India.
These are my three favorite:
by Alexander Frater
Alexander Frater is completely obsessed with weather. In Chasing The Monsoon, he chronicles a completely insane idea he has of going to the very southern tip of India and following the annual Monsoon rains as they move up the length of the country.
Along the way, he meets procedure-obsessed bureaucrats, mango-obsessed businessmen, martial-arts-obsessed Americans supermodel-obsessed partygoers and obsession-obsessed obsessives.
This is, in short, a book about Indian obsession.
Which, given my obsession about India, seems fitting.
by Tahir Shaw
For reasons too complicated to get into right here, author Tahir Shaw decides that he wants to know more about the Indian tradition of stage magic. He tracks down the greatest living Indian magician and begs him to take him on as an apprentice. In classic kung fu-movie-tradition, the magician takes him on only grudgingly, then makes his life a living hell, as he learns the secrets of Indian magic through formal study and through a series of bizarre tests and quests. (The most fascinating of these is when he is told to go out and collect a "trade secret" from somebody surprising and he ends up interviewing the hangman at a prison.)
This is a view of India I would never have gotten anywhere else. It doesn't make me want to become a magician, but it does make me want...
Well, I'm not sure WHAT it makes me want to do, but it does fill me with an even more intense longing for India.
by David Burton
Indian history is so much more than the couple of hundred years it was ruled by the British, but somehow, for a lot of people, that is the period that looms largest in their imagination.
This is the coolest book I've read on the Raj (British-ruled India).
What happens when people with the least imaginative culinary tradition in the world find themselves administering the country with the most vibrant culinary tradition in the world?
If there is anything that trumps my obsession with India, it is my obsession with food. That makes this book a double threat to me.