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.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Sideways on a scooter

  1. agree that people coming to India to seek spirituality is becoming a common theme. Then again, that IS one of the things the country is known for right?Like a month in Spain learnings Spanish or a month in South america learning to salsa. Personally, I am embarrassed I am seeking yoga here in Singapore than in India. I think after ‘redeeming life in tuscany’, India does seem to be emerging as the next ‘life-changing’ destination.

    But definitely disagree that continuing to stay in the same place (NY) is good for pondering on life etc. Sometimes physically getting away from what is ‘the regular’ can be brilliant – even if it doesn’t bring any larger than life revelations. thats the point of travel and vacations is i suppose. And India does score high in the sense of being an exact opposite or a contrast.

    And sometimes we accept ‘things the way they are’ too much. what is the point of education, if we cant stand for some change? (Not to say I am any different or anything). just!

    But does sound like a sad read more than anything else.

    • It is a sad read. Am ok with people travelling and exploring new horizons. In fact travelling can be a great stress buster and bring new perspectives. But the one thing I can’t get to agree on is why do you expect all sojourns to be life changing. A trip to India will not treat all your travails or make life better. You learn a few things and your point of view changes, but you still have to face your fears whether in NYC or Mumbai. I guess I don’t agree with the fact travelling can answer all of life’s questions or travelling alone is a respite for an otherwise troublesome life.

  2. haha, I believe I also said every trip/travel ‘doesn’t bring any larger than life revelations’. sometimes, u do come back to exactly what u left behind and that can be even more frustrating in cases too.

    however, I dont know how to say it… but if u go away for long enough, I suppose life hasn’t changed, but u may have changed in an out-of-step-way from what u left behind. may be there in lies the difference.

    i believe all these books cater to escapists looking for hope!

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