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Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure

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Book Overview

In her twenties, journalist Sarah Macdonald backpacked around India and came away with a lasting impression of heat, pollution and poverty. So when an airport beggar read her palm and told her she... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An Inside Look

I've made many trips to India. In that context, I quickly came to see that most books on India tend to be superficial: see this, see that, perhaps some history. In general there is little depth, and if anything spiritual is involved, little objectivity. It's the check your mind at the door thing that Westerners seem to do so well. I have found two books very useful for introducing visitors to the real India. One is "Holy Cow" and the other is "The Spiritual Tourist". Not surprisingly, both books are by seasoned journalists, so there is both a spirit of investigation and a professionalism that seeks to set aside biases and to genuinely be objective. Having extensively visited India, I know for certain the Holy Cow author, Sarah MacDonald, is one courageous lady. In her two years living in India, most of it with her husband absent, she somehow manages to boldly put in a lifetime's worth of spiritual experience across the country. As with both of the books I mention here, Sarah's conclusion, if there can be such a thing, revolves around love. India made her relationship with her Creator and with her fellow human beings come to life, and she realizes this across many of the religions and spiritual paths India offers. The book is an objective account of a spiritual journey. It just happens to occur as she travels across the Indian subcontinent. The unexpected plus with Holy Cow is that Sarah is a great writer, entertaining, humorous, and starkly honest. You get to know her personally as you get to know India, and that kind of writing is rare. Few authors expose their hearts in their work and stay objective at the same time. To go to India with no understanding of the spiritual dynamics there is like coming to the US and visiting Orlando or Las Vegas and returning home thinking one now understands America. India is vastly more than the sum of its parts and this is one of the few books where that is lucidly shown. I continue to give these two books to friends who visit India for the first time. I can think of no better way to help visitors truly understand the real India. Enjoy.

Holy Cow

I really enjoyed this book, in fact am purchasing several copies to give away. The best way to experience it is in audio. I appreciated the fact that it was read in Australian dialect because the author was Australian. The reader did a great job with that dialect as well as conveying the sound of different characters in the narrative who were Indian and not only that, Indians from different regions who also had distinctive speech patterns. I thought this was an excellent travel story. It was such fun learning about the differnt regions of the continent and also what the culture is like and what there is to see. It was reminiscent of the type of travel book Bill Bryson would have written if he had ever visited India.

Bought and read this book while traveling in India in 2004

What a find it was to buy a used copy of this book in India. I purchased it at a little book store in the mountains - well out away from all the big cities. I was kind of amazed that it was there on the shelf for sale. I spent almost two months on my own "spritual Journey" around India and traveled over 6,500 miles. What Sara writes about and feels is kind of what all first timers to India find or must think. The longer you are there the more you begin to absorb the culture and understand the people. It is a cultrual shock no matter how much you think you are open to yoga, Hindu religious beliefs and the people. There is just something so special and different there that you find in person. The author captures much of that energy in her book. I would recommend that anyone going to India buy this book and read it on the flight over there (You will have lots of time to read many books on the airplanes - that is one very long flight!)

The fabulous chronicle of Sarah's often humorous adventures

When the love of Sarah Macdonald's life is posted to India, she resigns from her job to move to New Delhi (which seems like the most polluted city on the face of the planet) as an act of ultimate romantic sacrifice. Holy Cow! is the fabulous chronicle of Sarah's often humorous adventures in a land of chaos and cows, class structure and contradictions. We are treated to her encounters with Hinduism, Islam, Janism, Sufis, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians, yogis, swamis, and Bollywood stars. From spiritual retreats and crumbling nirvanas, to war zones and New Delhi nightclubs, Holy Cow! is the thoroughly engaging story of one woman's journey to save her soul, her love life, and her sanity. This unabridged, 10 hour, 30 minute, highly recommended audiobook memoir narrated by the author, is also available in a CD format (1740935063, $72.00).

"Gorgeous splashes of color among filth, flies, and forlorn"

Eleven years after backpacking through India with complaints of the poverty, heat and pollution Australian Sarah Macdonald relented to never return; she even went to the extreme of flipping the middle finger to the ground below as her plane ascended into the sky. Sarah wasn't necessarily happy to quit her successful job in Sydney to relocate to New Delhi to live with her journalist boyfriend; she often wondered if she was making the right decision. Upon arrival she started having flashbacks of pugnant body odor and beggars with leprosy. The pollution and thick smog affected her health and wellbeing. It is clear that she isn't quite cut out to live in New Delhi.After reading the first couple chapters I expected HOLY COW to be filled with constant whining of India's derelict living conditions and complaints based on a Westernized perspective resulting in a mediocre travel narrative. But low and behold, I was soon pleasantly surprised how Sarah slowly evolved and reevaluated the country that she has scorned for so many years. After she started becoming reacquainted in her new home she started looking beyond the mayhem and dirt and began to see the beauty of India. Being a devout atheist when she first moved to New Delhi she slowly awoke and embraced the dynamic religions of Hinduism and Buddhism; she began to appreciate the sounds and surroundings of her new home.While her husband is busy working Sarah was able to travel throughout India with her new perspectives and begins to enjoy the dichotomies that India offers. My favorite side trip was the Buddhist retreat in the Himalayan footsteps that taught her to meditate by concentrating on her breathing. I cannot imagine undergoing anything close to that endeavor.Throughout HOLY COW Sarah Macdonald succeeded in digging past a traveler's first impressions of India to highlight the beauty of this varied land. By reading HOLY COW I now understand just a little bit more of India, and that was my initial goal when I first picked up this book.

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure Mentions in Our Blog

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure in Travel the World for Just a Few Bucks With Books!
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