A debut memoir detailing the author’s struggle to regain physical health and find internal peace during an arduous trip through India.
In January 2007, just a few days after her new husband, Dan, had returned to the United States, the then-32-year-old Brown found herself in a Mumbai hospital, suffering from inflammation in her knees that left her in excruciating pain and unable to walk. The plan had been for the couple to spend one month together in India on their honeymoon, and then Brown would continue on for several months “to do whatever it was [she] needed to do in India.” It was a spiritual trip, inspired by meditation, which she’d been planning before she met Dan. Although the book is, in part, an evocative travelogue (“Wherever you go in India, there always seems to be smoke in the air, the smoke of meals being cooked on a fire, of cumin and coriander and curry and turmeric egesting from their earthen shells into a man-made creation”), the bulk of the text is devoted to Brown’s personal physical, emotional, and spiritual journey. Although it’s a bit preachy and repetitive, it’s nonetheless a touching chronicle, peppered with humor and raw honesty. Back home, Brown was a nurse, but after severe bouts with dysentery resulted in the swelling in her knees, she says that she was alone and frightened, finding herself, for the first time, totally dependent on the kindness of strangers—including a cab driver, a young woman with the American Civil Services Unit at the American Embassy, and the health care workers and professionals at the hospital. After a few days, an American friend, Ashley, also traveling through India, arrived at her bedside and moved right into her hospital room, providing cheer, sustenance, and, happily, Percocet for the pain. Over the course of the book, Brown relates how she learned to take one step at a time, ever so slowly, and to open herself to accepting the experience, appreciating the moment, and surrendering to what is.
An often inspiring account that should find a solid fan base, especially among those interested in the teachings of mindfulness.