"A witty documentary satire.... Mehta embraces an enormous variety of life and death. Her style is light without being flip; her skepticism never descends to cynicism. [Karma Cola is] a miracle of rationalism and taste."
Sometime in the 1960s, the West adopted India as its newest spiritual resort. The next anyone knew, the Beatles were squatting at the feet of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Expatriate hippies were turning on entire villages to the pleasures of group sex and I.V. drug use. And Indians who were accustomed to earning enlightenment the old-fashioned way were finding that the visitors wanted their Nirvana now -- and that plenty of native gurus were willing to deliver it.
No one has observed the West's invasion of India more astutely than Gita Mehta. In Karma Cola the acclaimed novelist trains an unblinking journalistic eye on jaded sadhus and beatific acid burnouts, the Bhagwan and Allen Ginsberg, guilt-tripping English girls and a guru who teaches gullible tourists how to view their previous incarnations. Brilliantly irreverent, hilarious, sobering, and wise, Mehta's book is the definitive epitaph for the era of spiritual tourism and all its casualties -- both Eastern and Western.
"Evelyn Waugh would have rejoiced."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"It is a sad, hilarious, rueful tale and Mehta tells it with a rich fund of irony, satire, acerbic wit and insight."--The Los Angeles TimesSee all Editorial Reviews
The is an entertaining tongue -in-cheek look at the spiritual tourism business in India. The people in the book come from all walks of life and from a myriad of western countries... Read morePublished on January 25, 2013 by Lionel S. Taylor
This is an ironic, clever portrait of the American-British enlightenment seekers back in the 1960's. Read morePublished on November 17, 2012 by mark twain
An interesting, if somewhat disorganized, string of anecdotes about the strange ways in which Western materialism and Indian spirituality meet. Read morePublished on January 11, 2012 by Carno Polo
This lady can write! She writes as good as V. S. Naipaul in describing the behaviour of higher primates and the phalanx of mediocrity we call `the masses'. Read morePublished on November 18, 2011 by Halifax Student Account
I've just reread Karma Cola (3rd time) and enjoyed it more than ever. Dropping onto this page I was stunned to discover how much rage had been kindled by such a light-hearted,... Read morePublished on September 5, 2010 by Steve Summers
I was eager to read this book about the hippies who descended on India in the 60's and since. Westerners tourists want the "packaged" Eastern exotics, with air-conditioned hotels,... Read morePublished on July 17, 2009 by B. Wolinsky
This book is a cautionary antidote to the foolish infatuation with Indian gurus on the part of gullible Westerners.Published on June 15, 2009 by David Kiebert
Gita Mehta's KARMA COLA, originally published in 1980, is a 1979, is a collection of anecdotes about the Western travelers that Mehta met in India in the 1970s. Read morePublished on May 7, 2009 by Christopher Culver