Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: Kerala, The Divine Destination - Lalitha Balasubramanian

Kerala, The Divine Destination by Lalitha Balasubramanian is a travelogue, where we witness a progressive discovery of temples of Kerala and its true soul, where you can perceive those memories of the author from the drumbeats during the processions to the smell of jasmine and the warmth of the braziers that burned in temples.

South India is the warm and lush heart of the subcontinent, an unsettling mix of avant-garde and timeless traditions where everyday life and spirituality are intimately linked. This makes it very different from the northern part of the country. The opening words in the introductory chapter itself already contain the whole meaning of the book itself.

In a trip, whatever it is, you receive the gift of the "journey" that already resides within us. India in this kind of gifts is very generous which you will discover in your inner aspects and emotions only apparently hidden in the temples, the serenity of the people of Kerala, the screams of the children.

The author brushstrokes fast but extremely precisely invite us to take the flight to Kerala, to go up with her, and to abandon our perspective, to open the mind to experience the world where all our certainties crumble and they will be progressively more fragile and inconsistent, to melt like snow in the sun.

It will not be difficult from the beginning to be dragged into this new dimension where everything, on which the eye of the author will linger, will be totally different from our world, our stereotypes and as if you were diving in a new dimension that attracts yet scares. The sounds, tastes, the smells and the colors that the book will depict will quickly stun us but to appreciate the way that we must, together with the author let us wrap, capture and win from them, abandoning our strengths and our prejudices.

At first, it seems too far away, but frame by frame conquers us, disarms us and surrounds us completely. The book starts to topple all our confidence and makes us small and defenseless against a spirituality so tangible and far away from our conception of religion.

It is as if the heavy monsoon rains clean away all our prejudices and our strengths, and the sun enlighten our journey, making us appreciate the beauty of the temples amidst the diverse landscapes, characterized by coconut palms, banana trees, and pomegranates that almost magically sing perfectly with the bright colors of the typical women.

India is a country in which coexist the most absurd contradictions, where also what apparently seems not amalgamable, find a perfect deal. So there should not surprise hordes of people that instead of inveighing against each other are decorated with a smile and sweet serene and can safely accommodate sellers of all kinds selling fragrant flower garlands to offer to the gods.

Here everything, even what seems most discordant agree to perfection and the hustle bustle, where people, give great importance to the quality of life, trying to be serene and happy and as if these people preserve the very essence of life and it was not left to swallow from the gear of Modernity. Kerala is as if it were one of the only oasis of peace and serenity.

The author shows an ideal organization of the book structure. In fact, the book helps us to become familiar with the temples of Kerala and opens our minds to the imagination. It invites us to travel with our imagination. The author builds her own depiction of places and faces of the people. These will be masterly portraits and then fixed in the memory by photographs placed in the middle of travelogue. In this way, the author leaves the reader the time to learn to love this region and then do their personal TRAVEL.

What we have only imagined throughout the specification is now being concretely represented and what has not yet been described is to whet your interest in subsequent descriptions. In reading continuation, it will be evident as in Kerala, art and culture embody a perfect combination of absolute simplicity and splendor.

The originality of this travelogue is in the fact, that the author is not lost on a cold description of places and shrines visited, but focuses on the emotions and feelings that arise in her, by what she sees. The book is a short interior trip first and is a return to the origins of man, to the simplicity of life, the ability to smile before the difficulties and the tenacity to seek happiness' in its most primal and pure meaning.



Format: Hardcover ♥ Publisher: Leadstart ♥ Pages: 179 ♥ Published: September 2015 ♥ Language: English ♥ ISBN-13: 9789381576236
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