Dancing to an Indian Tune; an Education in India tells the story of an English woman’s life-changing experiences as a student of Indian Religion and Philosophy at the Hindu University of Banaras (in Varanasi) between 1963 and 1965. Mary Searle’s decision to take a step into the unknown initially seems to have backfired when people in India express disapproval of her culture, and she struggles to adjust to her new life. The young innocent seeks relief from dry study by exploring the ancient city where she meets renowned holy men, predatory Romeos, a man who was tortured by the British and an eccentric Irish woman. She learns to spin wool, grind millet and watch over cattle in a Gandhian community. Later travels take her to tribal regions of central India, and to Nepal, where she treks with two Sherpas towards the Tibetan border over passes of 17,000 feet, sleeping rough under rock overhangs. Mary sees history being made when she is present at the ceremony for the scattering of Nehru’s ashes. By the time she returns to Britain, her values and habits have changed so much that everything appears alien, demonstrating that so much of what we know is influenced by our perception of our surroundings.
An intense experience of cross-cultural engagement, perfect for readers looking for a different kind of autobiography and travel narrative.
Author: Mary Searle-Chatterjee
Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Number of pages: 288