Book Review: Sideways on a scooter

Sideways on a Scooter is a memoir written by Miranda Kennedy about exploring life and love in India.

To begin with, this seems to be inspired from the Eat Pray Love saga that was penned by Elizabeth Gilbert. I simply cannot understand why New Yorkers have to jet set to India to figure themselves out. I was hoping to find that Miranda would check herself into some yoga resort but thankfully she doesn’t follow the path that is beaten to death. New York seems like a vibrant city to disentangle your webs and reflect with thought. Why make the 1000+ mile journey from East to West to be greeted with more chaos and disorder?

Some of the women in her book, Parvathi, for instance, is portrayed with more strength and conviction than Miranda herself. Even Geetha, the bubbly Punjabi girl, who is caught in the love-arranged quagmire knows where she stands and is very comfortable in her skin. Maybe that’s India for you. We understand how the country functions, some of us try to change things for the better. Others simply accept this as a way of life and live with it. We don’t judge our maids or explore the caste structure involved. We simply think of it as a job profile and learn to move on. In fact that’s how simple it should be. We do have cleaning ladies in America. They drive around in cars and if they mop there, they vaccum here. So let’s not get into ridiculing things just yet.

Also how does sleeping around with random guys in Delhi and Kabul justify your search for yourself? A little abstinence might actually knock some sense into this wanderlust women. The book gains pace only towards the later half when Geetha is getting set to enter matrimonial bliss and it ends abruptly.

Miranda wonders if she would ever be a part of India. The answer is Never. That’s the bane of immigrants. You are always lurking on the outside but peeking to get an insider’s view. Besides, being Indian is not a religion you can or need to convert into. It’s just a way of life. I’m thinking there would be many more of these travel books and although its not a travel book, I do not quite understand what genre it belongs to. Maybe confused women in yoga land?

Sideways on a scooter could have been humorous and witty. Miranda gets close to various aspects of her Delhi life and she tries to portray the lives of her household help and friends. But the narration is just that, dull and lacklustre. I hope her time in India was better than what she has penned. Just learn to look on the bright side, especially, when you are in India and trust me, you will be surprised.