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Posted June 23, 2013
Holy Cow! An Indian Adventure is the first book by Australian journalist, author and radio presenter, Sarah MacDonald. In 1999 Macdonald left Triple J to live in India with her husband (ABC foreign correspondent Jonathan Harley), and stayed for two years, exploring the country, its people and religions. After a brush with mortality, MacDonald felt the need to seek answers and so began examining the various religions to be found in India. She looks at Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Judaism, Jainism and Christianity, and gives a little explanation of each as she does so. Along the way she encountered swamis, gurus, prophets, living gods, priests, pundits, sufis, lamas, devis and devotees, servants, saints, tourists, actors, diplomats, bureaucrats, and a laugh club. She endured hair loss, a dip in the Ganges, double pneumonia, twenty-one different types of mutton, a silent retreat, groping and leering, smog, power cuts and intense summer heat. MacDonald made girlfriends, learned Hindi and Bollywood dancing, visited temples and shrines, attended festivals, feasts and weddings and visited Pakistan. She concluded that “India is the land of the profound and the profane; a place where spirituality and sanctimoniousness sit miles apart. I’ve learned much from the land of many gods and many ways of worship.” In this look at modern-day India from the perspective of an Aussie female journalist, MacDonald is often amusing, sometimes shallow, occasionally naïve, at times insightful and always injecting a good dose of cynicism into her observations of this fascinating culture.
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