The Indian book market is dominated by you self-help books, romance, coming of age and finding yourself sagas. They are dreary and boring. They do not have any iota of reality and they only pander to the narcissistic social media mongers that we have become.
Once in a while, like a whiff of fresh air by the brook, comes a book which melts your heart and you are compelled to admit that there is indeed a soul who writes a book only because he wants the story to be told. The motivation is that even the world should take notice.
I am talking about the book named “Mountains to Manhattan” by Pinakie Kansabanik
Pinakie’s website describes him as a trekker by heart. It definitely shows off in his book.
Mountains to Manhattan is in the mould of Khaled Hosseini or Betty Mahmood’ writing style. The story is dominated by a strong central female character, whom you root for from the very first page.
What is Mountains to Manhattan about?
Mountains to Manhattan is about Tenzin Lhamo,a young Tibetan woman who is looking to find her identity
Identity, Come again?
Tibet considers itself an autonomous state, however the People’s republic of China claims that Tibet is its territory.
OK, so what?
China is carrying out atrocities on Tibetans- with the effect that many Tibetans do not opt to stay in the region and want to go out of the country to look for better lives for themselves. A lot of them have sought refuge in India – however, they do not get Indian citizenship and the benefits associated with it. A lot of them also seek refuge elsewhere – Austria and the United States, chiefly. However, this process is full of trials and tribulations. The story tries to empathize the reader to the trials of these simple-hearted people.
What is the current status on Tibet?
The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama posits that Tibet wants a peaceful relationship with China and he has repeatedly criticized the Chinese government over its anti-Tibetan stance. Given this current dynamic, it is very difficult for Tibet to gain complete sovereignty which has been its dream.
Moving Back to Tenzin Lhamo
The book gives us the glimpses of Tenzin’s struggle. She is a normal girl with very normal aspirations. She wants a good life, love, good health and happiness in her life. She however faces enormous odds – the issue of her Tibetan origin crops up everywhere.
So, what does Tenzin do?
Tenzin makes a daring plan and executes it to perfection. She has to struggle for it, of-course. She seeks asylum in Austria and with her tenacity gets it also.
But, is Tenzin Happy?
Tenzin carries the weight of expectations as all people in her situation do – from her family, her husband and all people who are in her sphere of her influence.
What is the big hook in this book?
The female protagonist in the big, bad world. You immediately start rooting for Tenzin – you feel her struggles and there is an instant connection with her character. You can sense a duality in her – her ambition on one side and her love for the people she cares.
1) The Author’s great passion for the Tibetan freedom struggle
2) The enormous amount of research
3) A strong female protagonist