Three cups of Tea – From Strangers to Family!

If you hardly see me here these days, it’s not because I am ill, or undergoing a writer’s block. Not even because I have finally got bored with blogging! or because I am basking in the glory of my first award or my 60th follower ( Which BTW, both happened on the same day!). It’s not because my kids are troubling me (though that’s a very handy excuse to give to everyone who’s waiting for me to respond to urgent e mails or get back on a myriad other semi urgent projects that I am somehow always in the middle of). It’s not because I have run out of topics to talk about (actually the list is just getting longer).

The reason, I am not writing, just about managing to answer the comments on my blog and not getting any packing done (I am scheduled to leave within a week,for a grand family wedding,   and then for a road trip to ladakh – my dream destination since forever! but that’s another blog) is because  I am currently reading a book.

The book that’s got me hooked

Does that disappoint you! Is that an anticlimax? were you waiting for a bigger, more serious sounding   reason. But then, that means  you don’t really know me. I am the typical bookworm. When I find a book I like, my eyes glaze over! I forget to eat meals, sometimes even forget to cook them the laundry remains unwashed, kids go un-bathed, deadlines get missed, bills remain unpaid… eerie silence descends over my household Have I ever said before that I am the d”evil in residence” in my home! perpetually shouting an order there, pulling up an ear here, ranting unsought advice, spewing “well-meaning” criticism (Am sure you get the drift). Life as we know it in the “Goel” ( that by the way is my husband’s last name) household comes to a standstill,  till the last page is reached. My family looks on with dread each time someone recommends a good book to me. I can almost see the panic in my children’s eyes! Whenever a serious project in underway like the renovation of our restaurant or the kids exams, I am kept away from bookstores! Like a million miles away! You get the picture? … Right!

But I am digressing. so I was telling you about the book that is currently keeping me away from my desktop (I still prefer that to my shiny white apple mac – old-fashioned?? Yeah,  I know!!) . Its called “three cups of Tea” and it’s about an American mountaineer, who after a failed attempt to climb K2, in the karakoram range, loses his way and chances upon a remote village in Pakistan – Korphe. There as he regains his health, he also gets to know the residents, develops an understanding of their harsh ways and an admiration for their tough struggle to survive.Discovering that the Korphe children have no school,  he promises to return to build a school for them. The minor hitch being that he is penniless, virtually a pauper and has no clue where to start. With sheer grit and determination he manages to raise the funds, and goes on to build not 1 or 2 but 53 schools in one of the most inhospitable regions in the world.

I have had a chance to read a lot about developmental work. What touches me the most about George Mortenson’s  story, is the utter lack of self-consciousness with which Mr Greg Mortenson seems to have gone about his work. With no pre – conceived notions  of developmental work, no self-important airs, no jargon of important sounding terms, with an open mind, willing to listen to “illiterate” people, respecting their wisdom and embracing  their culture. His story as written by his co author David oliver relin, is not only about building the schools but also about the beauty of the life of the people he has grown to love. It’s an account of how a humble, non-assuming westerner can enter the hearts and homes of  people living in the remotest corners  of a staunch Islamic nation. The book (as much as I have read of it till now – a little over 200 pages underlines what most of us suspect anyway. That people everywhere want only good education, health services and basic facilities. That anyone promising people a better future for their children is welcome anywhere in the world regardless of their religion, color or country. An important lesson that governments, still need to learn, it seems! The accounts of his years sleeping in balti homes on open terraces , hunting Ibex in  balti hunting party, being abducted by” wazirs” in Peshawar, his personal struggles with finance and loneliness, his finding his soul-mate, the building of his first school have left me crying or smiling, for no apparent reason to my children’s puzzlement!

This is a wonderful, wonderful book with remarkable candidness and provides great insight into the psyche of both Greg Mortenson and the people he chose to work with!  “With” and not “for” and that’s the true essence of good developmental work!

Three cups of Tea – The first is drunk with strangers , second with friends and with third you become family,  is definitely a must read. The book’s tagline says, its about one man’s mission to promote peace, one school at a time. Read it, its one of those books that may change your life, or at least what you think about it. Just make sure, you get all your important tasks done first and don’t forget to write a short blog informing your readers of your inevitable absence… 🙂 happy reading!

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Will pick this one for sure.

    Thanks for writing the review – enjoyed it.


    1. thanks for getting me to write it! this post owes its existence to u 🙂

  2. blogwatig says:

    Gonna pick this for my next read………….thanks so much!

    1. and you wont regret it! 🙂

  3. ailsapm says:

    Cannot wait to read this, thanks for the recommendation, I hadn’t heard about it until your post! xxx Ailsa

    1. you’re welcome! its a wonderful book. though after writing the post I read a few negative articles about greg mortenson. In any case the book is great and very inspiring

  4. foldedcranes says:

    Nice post, I have been meaning to read this book for a while now and reading your post has been a good reminder. From what you say here it’s very compelling and hard to put down, so it sounds like my high expectations will not be disappointed! There’s nothing better than sometimes getting lost in a good book, and I like it even more when it’s inspiring in this way about making the world a better place. Have you read either Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl Wu Dunn, or Hospital by the RIver by Dr. Catherine Hamlin? Both are also very inspiring in a similar way. Not always easy to read, but leaves you wanting to make a change too! Thanks again!

    1. dear folded cranes,
      No, unfortunately i haven’t read both these books. Have heard a lot about “half the sky” but never read it. Will read both ASAP! Glad you liked the post

      1. foldedcranes says:

        Great! Will be interested to know what you think! Cheers 🙂

  5. Nice review indeed! 🙂 I gotta wait till I lay my hands on this one, currently I am busy with my exams and stuff..

    1. worth a wait! 🙂 good luck for the exams!

  6. souldipper says:

    Hope you thoroughly enjoy your trip – sounds like you are excited (if your friends just keep their good books to themselves until after you’re packed!). Thank you for visiting me and commenting. I’m on my second cup of tea with India thanks to blogging! Blessings, dear one.l

    1. I hope you will be on your third one soon! I am excited and the friends have been warned … though one just asked me to read fountainhead again! I’ve read it as a teenager and revisiting it sounds good! but i have decided to not start it till the trip ! now only if i can stick to my decisions

  7. Vikram Karve says:

    Hi Sapna,
    I really liked your quote:

    “My family looks on with dread each time someone recommends a good book to me”

    Looks like you are a true book lover. Great Review. Must read this book.
    May you read many wonderful books
    Keep Blogging
    PS – My family too looks on with dread whenever I see a good book or go into a bookstore!

    1. that makes us “instigators of dreadful looks among families” LOL!! I wonder when you gt the time to read? Every tim i open my facebook there is something new from you! ya, you must read the book 🙂

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