Dreaming in hindi by Katherine Russel Rich

As I read this book, I felt I was in a dream world. The story line floats from theme to theme without any obvious or concrete connection and yet I was drawn in.
It was like the compulsion one feels when upon waking from an intense and seemingly vivid dream: desperately trying to understand what it meant, trying to hang on to each intangible and ephemeral piece. If you can make sense of it before it disappears, you can hold on to the dream. If you don't analyze the dream, it vanishes and two minutes later you can barely remember the dream, much less what it meant.

Even the real-life characters of the book are portrayed in a dream-like quality. They float in and out of the author's narrative. Their flaws are exposed, but softened by the dream-like world in which they exist.
Only when the author moves to the analysis of the experiences does the narrative leave the dream world. These sections are clear, academic, and enlightening. The analyses are scattered incongruously throughout the book and yet add to it's weight and somehow hold it together. Above all they help the linguistically unschooled (me) to grasp and make sense of the dream world.
The whole time I was reading "Dreaming in Hindi", I was trying to understand "where is the author going with this?" and "what is the purpose of this section?". But most of all I was trying to understand why I didn't "get" so much of the story.
As I headed toward the end I started to understand and things started to come together. I remembered that another book had put my head in the same place: E. M. Forster's "Passage to India".
"Dreaming in Hindi" has helped me to better understand Forster's book. Without using the construct of language, Forster was trying to put the Eastern mind into Western mind. What happens in this procedure is reminiscent of the surgery where the doctor switches brains. It doesn't necessarily follow the expected path.


Anonymous said...

Interesting!I love india!

David said...

il m'a l'air trés bon ce bouquin!


wow, this subject rocks!