Mind travel through books

Poor me. I have never been outside Indonesia even for journalistic purposes. I myself is not a travel lover. When I was still a teenager, only few places I would love to visit: Mecca as the ultimate holy site for Muslims; Torino as the home base of my favorite football club Juventus; and recently is Salinas where my beloved author John Steinbeck was born.

I have read some books, mostly novels, ever since I rarely went to the fields back in 2010. Working all day long in an air-conditioned room bores me but it provides me with a lot of time of reading. I actually read to absorb authors’ ideas and their perspectives as well as enjoy what fantasy are on offers. Not many books I have read so far. At first, I start reading American literature, then classic books, before I end up digesting books on Indian literature. Tell you what? India has very talented writers with excellent English proficiency. and currently, Amitav Ghosh’s novels top my reading list. One thing I like from his books is they bring my mind into a virtual trip to remote, strange places across the world.

When you read his books, you know that you take yourself in a visionary journey across oceans, countries, even continents. His vivid descriptions allow readers to experience as if they accompany him in his trips. I enjoy this kind of sensation while I read “The Glass Palace”, a perfect start-up choice to later explore his novels.

I truly must confess that I want to visit Ratnagiri, Mandalay, Calcutta, and even Rangoon. Basically, all places that serve as the novel’s settings. It will be like a literature journey. No offense but I firstly think India is not a country really worth a visit. I mean, I already catch enough pictures of this second most densely-populated nation through movies as I love Bollywood. Through the pens of Ghosh, however, the nation turns out to be more interesting than I once thought.

One of the places that drive me into wonder is Ratnagiri. Had I not read “The Glass Palace”, I would probably not know the site. The place, as the novel says, is the place where Burma’s last king-in-exile Thebaw and Queen Supayalat resides. My recent search reveals that the place is a beautiful port city on the Arabian Sea coast in Ratnagiri district in the southwestern part of Maharashtra, India. The district is a part of Konkan.

thank you to travel.yahoo.com for the pict of Ratnagiri

And it’s embarrassing to discover that I just know that Mandalay is Burma’s former capital through this book. LOL.

“The Hungry Tide” introduces me to the so-called nautical literature coupled with beautiful places laying around the Bengal Bay on the border of Bangladesh and India. Here, I encounter a place called the Sundarbans which falls under UNESCO’s protected mangrove site. I also learn about massacre in Marichjhapi, an island set in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans. Many are died due to police brutality, disease, and starvation during an incident in 1978-1979 as the newly-elected Communist Party of India (Marxist) of West Bengal forcibly evict thousands of Bengali refugees who previously settle on the island.

thank you to empireslastcasualty.blogspot.com for the site of Marichjhapi

“The Circle of Reason” give me a unique mind trip to Africa. Till now, I keep on wondering how could such hot, deserted places such as Egypt and Algeria inspire the prolific author to write. Unfortunately, major sites in Ghosh’s first novel are fictitious thus I can hardly locate which part of Egypt Al-Ghaziri is. But anyway, this book opens up for me to explore the African literature someday. I am also eager to read books on Latin America.

Algeria as in hellotravel.com


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