Buttertea at sunrise, A year in the Bhutan Himalaya

buttertea at sunrise

This book is a memoir of a year long stay in Bhutan, as a physiotherapist in a village called Mongar, Bhutan. Written by Britta Das, it captures her time and experiences at Mongar during late 90’s. A German-born Canadian, going to a developing country has its own shock elements and this book talks about some of those – the lack of continuous electricity, water supply and lack of hygiene in the hospital and neighbourhood.   But it also talks about the beauty of the place, the hospitality of the people and the fighting spirit of the patients. Britta gives a small glimpse into the life of the monks and about Buddhism. She goes into details about her experience with people, the many small treks, the chortens and the lifestyle of these people. It is well written enough to make a reader want to visit the place.

This 310-page book captures the transition of Britta hating the place at first to ending up falling in love with it. I would categorize the book as a memoir than a travelogue. As opposed to the three-quarters of a footprint, this book does not have any humor and is less about the country and more about her experience in Mongar. This is more of a Mongar Diaries written well by the Britta das.
That’s three books down from the list of books I plan to read before the end of this year. 🙂

Where are you going, you monkeys?

This is a collection of Tamil folk tales(close to 100) which have been translated into English. Only some stories are children-friendly. A lot of the stories cannot be narrated to kids as it uses foul language or the morals of the characters in the stories are questionable.

Anyway, that’s two books down in less than a month. I’m pretty sure that I will be able to complete the self-proposed challenge of reading the list of 8 books. I hope to finish it soon. Hope the rest of the books are interesting too.

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN.

Three quarters of a footprint

 

Finally, a good book after a long time. The honest perspective, humor and historical background of the places visited by the author keep the reader engrossed. In the beginning, it wouldn’t be a surprise if someone brushed aside the book as a derogatory book about India. But if you go after 10 pages, you realize it is just an honest view of a foreigner. The precise amount of historical background added to the experiences keep the stories interesting and does not read like a history book.

The experiences in the book are from Joe’s travels mostly in south India during early 90’s, which adds a certain sense of charm. Mentions of cassette players, Walkman, having to go to a travel agent to book tickets, asking people for directions brings a touch of antiqueness to the entire book. He journals the journeys, people and not just the destinations. His honest narration of the events and experiences seemed harsh initially, but then he also makes ‘harsh’ observations of other travellers (some from his own country).

Get the book if you like to read about travel and history.

BTW, that’s one book down from the books I plan to read before end of this year.

Books I plan to read this year

I used to read more earlier than now. Same with writing. Also, I feel they are correlated. Don’t know how true that is. To put that to test, I’m planning to read more this year. There are certain books that require a lot of thinking (for eg. Mere Christianity) and there are some that require no thinking (eg. Killing Floor). There is a trade-off, the first kind takes a lot of time to finish and latter takes lesser time but leaves the reader unsatisfied. I’d like books that fall somewhere in the middle.

Luckily for me, someone I know was throwing away a bunch of books and I picked these ones to read this year. 8 months to go, 8 books here. I read somewhere that if you have a goal and you share it with the world, then you won’t complete it. Let me see if I can prove that wrong. 😉

The books are:

  1. Chicken soup for the Unsinkable soul
  2. My utmost for His highest – Oswald Chambers
  3.  —
  4. Where are you going, you monkeys? – ki. Rajanarayanan
  5. Prince Caspian – C S Lewis
  6. My Days – R K Narayan
  7. Buttertea at sunrise – Britta Das
  8. Three-quarters of a footprint  – Joe Roberts

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