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Shantaram

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Murabit View Drop Down
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Joined: 20 March 2004
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    Posted: 03 September 2006 at 7:10am
One of the best autobiographies I’ve ever read. It has to be my 2nd most favourite, after the autobiography of Malcolm X, being the 1st. If anyone is for a real real good reading, then pick this book up. It is a human-lived-model of a, in a way, yin-yang scenario. A model of the ever-lasting dialectic tension between the ideal and the real. I picked the book up after reading Jhonny Depp bought the right to make a movie based on the book. Depp himself would be playing the leading role. Perfect match, as I could not think of anyone better to play that role. Anyhow, read on the following piece from BBC; an excellent summary of the book and his life and also make sure to check his website: http://www.shantaram.com

Shantaram

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By Gregory David Roberts

From BBC: Greg Roberts' amazing story

Gregory Roberts' first book Shantaram tells an extraordinary story of a man who becomes a drug addict and bank robber, escapes from an Australian prison and flees to Bombay -- where he works a doctor in the slums and runs with the Indian mafia. Roberts became a heroin addict after the break-up of his marriage and losing custody of his young daughter. In an attempt to fuel his addiction, Roberts began to rob banks, and his three-piece suits and polite manner gained him a degree of notoriety in his native Australia. He was eventually caught and imprisoned -- only to escape in broad daylight and flee the country. He ended up in Bombay, where he was captivated by the huge city and its remarkable energy.

But Roberts said when he got beyond the first shock of the slums, he began to see "the real city and the real people and the real lives that are being led .. it was the freedom that I saw around me. It's a city that manifests a huge degree of freedom compared to the freedoms I'd experienced in my own life." Roberts befriended a local man who took him to stay in his village in the country. There, the local women decided he needed a new name -- they called him Shantaram, which translates to "man of peace". Roberts was intensely moved by this.

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Roberts was once Australia's most wanted man

Eventually, Roberts was arrested and thrown in prison in Bombay, where he was tortured. A man eventually bribed the police to release him, and that man turned out to be a senior figure in the Indian mafia. Roberts repaid his kindness by going to work for him. He smuggled drugs and passports and ran with the mujahedin in Afghanistan. Roberts was eventually captured in Germany and extradited to Australia, where he served the rest of his prison sentence.

In prison he began to write the book that would become Shantaram -- but saw his manuscript destroyed by prison officers, not once but twice. The second time he decided the only thing to do was forgive the man who ripped up his life's work: "I looked at the shattered pieces of my own life in front of me and thought, if I don't do something to move past this, it will destroy me .. I found the prison officer who destroyed the manuscript and told him that I forgave him and I understood why he did it."

So what next for Gregory Roberts? He plans to make Shantaram part of a quartet of books. He is reconciled with his daughter, plans to set up mobile clinics in Bombay and works with young offenders in Australia.

"Sometimes, when you live a life at such a wild edge, an extreme edge of experience, you can come back into the world -- if you come back at all -- with some essence from that experience that people find useful."

Also see: http://www.shantaram.com
"I am a slave. I eat as a slave eats and I sit as a slave sits.", Beloved, sallallahu alyhi wa-sallam.
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abuzuhri View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote abuzuhri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 March 2007 at 8:57pm
After a brief glancing through the work of Gregory David Roberts, we must honestly admit he got something precious right and being blown over in a flux of events and Divine unfoldings beyond our tiny intellectual grasp.

Life is a direct encounter and test. Words, books, pictures and films cannot capture its essence that each self confronting existence as such. Each man/woman world may intersects or cross over or remains isolated in the tiny planet. Travels and internet make it seems small and in your face.

At the end, we plant a poem to Shantaram shores :
A Master shoot the first arrow at the mulk
His student unleash second arrow at the malakut
Guess where and what they pursue the targets
First it hits you lightly and the second penetrate deep
Or it is flying past australia, india and seen at Arafah.
abuzuhri shin
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