You can’t chase after happiness; it’s inside, a choice we make. Elizabeth Gilbert realizes this in time. She finds happiness not by exploring a new place, but by exploring an old one—namely, the walls and corridors and culture of her own soul.
When I think of India—especially now, after reading the literature and eating the food—I think of aromatic spices and colors, conquering sultans and rajas, sumptuous palaces and temples. I think of gold and jewels and steamy jungles. I think of a faraway world that’s perhaps not nearly as far away as I’d thought.
I know that Forster was painting a picture of the racial tension between the English and Indians—a picture, I might point out, that didn’t turn every Englishman into a villain and every Indian into a martyr (both races had their good and bad points)—but it just wasn’t a picture that really captured my imagination.
From about 1000 B.C. t0 1700 A.D., India history is a disjointed creature containing unpronounceable names and a multitude of different kingdoms and dynasties.
Because the truth is, Indian life and culture is amazingly complicated. It’s a menagerie of different castes, religions, politics, boundaries, and cultures. It’s like a giant Gordian knot of humanity that you’re trying to unravel, only finally coming to the understanding that it’s impossible to fully understand and organize it.