November 10, 20223 min read

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Shantaram is an epic novel following the semi-fictional life of the author as he escapes from a drug fuelled stay at a maximum security prison in Australia to finding friends, love, war, and purpose in Bombay, India. He finds a community of friends all of whom are in some shape or form are also travellers who have overstayed their visit whether that is from a different province, to another country. This ragtag community of diaspora shed light on the things we hold most sacred in our lives when everything we are familiar with is taken away from us.

I loved every word of this book, and it was filled with clever phrases and beautiful quotes.

“Civilisation, after all, is defined by what we forbid, more than what we permit”

“I don’t know what frightens me more, the power that crushes us or our endless ability to endure it.”

“Prisons are the temples where devils learn to prey. Every time we turn the key we twist the knife of fate, because every time we cage a man we close him in with hate.”

“Sooner or later, fate puts us together with all the people, one by one, who show us what we could, and shouldn’t, let ourselves become. Sooner or later we meet the drunkard, the waster, the betrayer, the ruthless mind, and the hate-filled heart. But fate loads the dice, of course, because we usually find ourselves loving or pitying almost all of those people. And it’s impossible to despise someone you honestly pity, and to shun someone you truly love. ”

“Silences can wound as surely as the twisting lash, the poet Sadiq Khan once wrote. But sometimes, being silent is the only way to tell the truth.”

“The cloak of the past is cut from patches of feeling, and sewn with rebus threads. Most of the time, the best we can do is wrap it around ourselves for comfort or drag it behind us as we struggle to go on. But everything has its cause and its meaning.

Every life, every love, every action and feeling and thought has its reason and significance: its beginning, and the part it plays in the end. Sometimes, we do see. Sometimes, we see the past so clearly, and read the legend of its parts with such acuity, that every stitch of time reveals its purpose, and a kind of message is enfolded in it. Nothing in any life, no matter how well or poorly lived, is wiser than failure or clearer than sorrow. And in the tiny, precious wisdom that they give to us, even those dread and hated enemies, suffering and failure, have their reason and their right to be.”

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Apurva Shukla

Created by Apurva Shukla.

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