Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Monday, November 08, 2010

The call of India - Delhi

As you may have gathered over time, I like memoirs set in India. Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity by Sam Miller is my latest read.

Miller, a London born journalist, has settled in India with his Indian wife and their family. He had lived in Delhi, the old capitol of India before, and been less than in love with the city. However Delhi is now a city roiling in change. It is growing at a rate unimaginable in the west and with almost no real planning. He is drawn to the dynamo of change and the old Delhi that is disappearing.

Miller, an avid walker or flaneur, decides to explore this changing city by walking outward in a spiral. This way he will cross through slums, rich enclaves, historic places, and more. The book is fascinating because he wants to put things in context. Why is there a school in Delhi called Ludlow Castle School? How long with the agricultural pockets stay? Can he find the rooftop tht a scene in Merchant/Ivory's Householder was shot on? He is chased by feral pigs. He has tea with a Princess. A fascinating walke through a city exploding into the 21st century.