Blank, who has reported on Asia for the Dallas Morning News, traveled the length and breadth of India, retracing the footsteps of the god Rama, hero of the ancient Sanskrit epic (portions of which introduce each chapter). Coupling journalistic detachment with piercing lyricism, he samples the subcontinent in all its horrific, multitudinous, overwhelming diversity, from Bombay's Hollywood-style dream factories to Calcutta's leper-filled streets. He ponders the nation's lingering caste divisions, with their "BMW Brahmins" and destitute untouchables. He meets Sikh separatists in the Punjab and, in Sri Lanka, tracks down Tamil Tiger guerrillas, young boys carrying AK-47s. He converses with holy men in ashrams and probes the erotic intensity of the Krishna cult. He scuffles with Indian's venal, infuriating bureaucracy. Blank writes beautifully and taps into India's elusive, indestructible soul with a clarity few writers attain, as he ponders the paradoxes of a country where deep-rooted fatalism clashes with Westernization and a new social mobility.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Part travel-journal, part retelling of an Indian epic, part cultural and political analysis, this first book by a former editor of Tokyo's Asahi Evening News is both eclectic and ambitious. For the most part, Blank keeps his wide-ranging and amusing narrative neatly focused and his huge cast of characters relevant and sharply delineated. Blank's attention swings back and forth between India's mythological past and its only slightly less extraordinary present, alternately recounting episodes in the life of Rama--blue-skinned god of the title and hero of the 3,000-year-old epic known as the Ramayana--and his own adventures as he tracks the wanderings of Rama across the subcontinent. Along the route, Blank encounters gurus and guerrillas, mendicants and maharajahs, Indian idols in shadowy shrines and klieg-lighted TV studios. Rama's struggles with demons and demigods are paralleled by the author's imbroglios with the wildly bureaucratic Indian Postal Service as he attempts to send a package home. Though he reveals little personal information about himself, Blank probes beneath the exotic surface of Indian life to examine such matters as Hindus' emphasis on duty, the growing number of couples marrying for love, and Hindu fatalism compared with Calvinistic predestination. On a more intimate level, he speaks with Mother Teresa, and with Arun Govil, who portrayed Rama on a popular TV series. More personal information about Blank would have been welcome; even so, a delightfully offbeat travelogue. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
A book that is a way into some facets and issues of indian society, a travel through the spirit of Ramayana as told by a journalist through the words and experiences of leades,... Read morePublished on February 13, 2009 by R. Singh
I guess this book has been out for some time, but I had not known about it until I stumbled upon it at the bookstore and I am very glad I did. Read morePublished on September 16, 2004 by Elizabeth Schneider
This is a wonderful book about the travel experiences of a young Harvard scholar in South Asia and how they evoked or resonated with certain episodes of the Ramayana. Read morePublished on June 16, 2004 by David Fowler
A unique travel book that traces the steps of the man-god Rama across India, and gives us a vivid portrait of India today. Read morePublished on December 2, 2003 by steve estvanik
In Budapest, I met a man who wanted to walk to India as a trial-by-fire to the Eastern mystics who preach detachment from worldly comforts as a way to purify the spirit. Read morePublished on August 30, 2002 by carlos reyes
This is a guide book for someone who may never visit India. It is a journey through India's culture, history, myths, religion, art, sociology and psychology all in one neat, well... Read morePublished on May 2, 2001