Cows, Camels and Kama Sutra

Review of  With The Kamasutra Under My Arm – An Indian Journey, Patricia Scot Bernard; Bluejay Books 2005; Rs 350; pp 344

– Shana Susan Ninan

Patricia Bernard, author of more than 25 books, ends her travelogue on India, With The Kamasutra Under My Arm – An Indian Journey, by comparing India to a beautiful woman. A beautiful woman in a yellow sari, with bare feet, bone bracelets, and three water pots balanced on her head. Travelling across North India with her animal-loving, bag-toting friend Sally, and with the Kamasutra under her arm, literally, Bernard meets men and women from various religions, communities and backgrounds, all adding to the alluring charm called India.

I love travelogues, especially ones written about India by foreigners. But this is the first time I saw a couple of women travelling through various Indian cities with the Kama Sutra as their guide. Or, rather, their entertainment-finder! When the two aren’t busy evading cows in narrow gullies or rubbing their bottoms from hour-long camel rides, they cosy up with their pillows for company by reading a chapter or two from the Love Bible, or chuckle at an awkward position or love twist from the book.

Pulling from her own experiences the world over, and with an uncanny ability to find nuances of everything around her, Bernard brings India to life in her book. From the sand dunes of the That desert to the ghats of Varanasi, the two share lovely rides in cars, carts, camels and sometimes on rickety buses. The flow is smooth, words easy on the eyes, and the humour absolutely rocking.

Bernard does take a condescending tone at times, especially when explaining the streets, crowded temples, dusty rides and others, but then again, which western writer doesn’t. As they go from city to city, historical anecdotes and local quips are evoked well, without boring the non-history-inclined.

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Rating: 6.3/10 (9 votes cast)
Cows, Camels and Kama Sutra, 6.3 out of 10 based on 9 ratings

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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 4th, 2013 at 6:39 pm and is filed under Reviews, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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