Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears. In the end that´s all there is: love and its duty, sorrow and its truth. In the end that´s all we have- to hold on tight until dawn.
I have just finished reading the second part of Shantaram and I still can´t put it down. The first part was an introduction of India: its people, their smiles, its languages, and its contradictions. I simply got infatuated with India and I got a craving for love and peace.
The second part of Shantaram narrates the life of Lin, the protagonist, in one slum of Bombay. Amazingly, we are taken to the streets, the houses and lives of a close community. Lin, at the begining is shocked with the abject poverty he encounters. He feels disgusted with it, and he just wants to run away from that place. However, before he could fly away,he is moved with the humanity of the slum dwellers. As Lin arrives, a huge fire starts in the slum and he feels there is nothing to do and he is about to leave. At that moment, he realises that some women and children are staring at him wondering why this strong foreignner is not helping the other men who are fighting the fire. Lin can´t run away, and instead he helps to extinguish the fire. That was the first lesson he got at the slum.
The slum is a community of 25,000 people living in very simple huts made of plastic, card box and dirt floors.In the slum Lin sets up a free health clinic as a way to contribute to the community. He learns about people´s customs, culture, rules and their idiosincracy. He learns not only to accept them, but to love them. Lin gets involved in this community and experiences how ethnic,marital and social issues are solved here.
This part has been an absolute immersion into the real india, into the deep structure of our condition as human beings. I have felt challenged by my views of poverty and humanity. I have experienced poverty first hand and I have fought against it in my country. However,reading about living in an Indian slum has shown me how little I know about poverty, even less about love, giving and humanity.