Aug 10, 2010

Tales of a female Nomad

There is no greater irony or joy than to read tales of wanderlust and cooking when confined to bed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, reading Rita G Gelman’s tales of travelling like a nomad transports you from the cozy comfort of your bed to the pulsating rhythm of a Zepotac village in South America. Not your idea of a vacation? Try renting in Mexico with its vibrant colors and stucco houses. It inspired Gelman to write a children’s book. It just might inspire you to paint or sing or may be wear a bright green blouse. Anything can happen when a nomad follows her instincts, trusts strangers and goes with the flow.

Did I mention, she is almost fifty years old when she embarks on her wanderlust, travelling from one country to another, visiting remote tribes untouched by modern civilization and cooking at communal fires with local women? The nomad falls in love with Bali, Indonesia, and settles down for four years. But the death of her spiritual father and master, prompts her to travel again. She settles again, for a year, in New Zealand, but a nomad isn’t a nomad unless she is moving.

As I write this review, Gelman is still out, travelling, making friends, connecting with locals and living the life of a nomad. Gelman receives kindness and friendship of strangers and gives back in her own unique way; teaching English, writing catalogues for an art gallery or reading her children’s books to kids all over the world.

Forget Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, which starts out as an adventure in self discovery and ends in an exercise in self-indulgence. Gelman’s Tales of a female nomad shows that self-discovery is about living in someone else’s shoes and discovering your $250 shoes are nothing better than leather and hide.

I wanted to cook the Thai red curry or the coconut fish mousse Gelman learns to make while living in Thailand. My confinement limits me to where I can’t even whip up a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions that she makes for a visiting German couple. So I will leave you with our book club founder, Simran, who made Nasi Goreng.

Still not in a mood to read Tales of a Female Nomad, head on over to Sra's for the third edition roundup of Of Chalks and Chopsticks. It is still food fiction, but not as long as a novel and available online.

There are more book reviews at Food for Thought, hosted by Jain.


  1. Lovely read, Jaya. Very true that doing adventure at 40 is striking. Daring and full of energy.
    Must learn a few lessons and start taking charge.
    Thanks for the wonderful article (review).

  2. The more I read about this book, the more I can kick myself for not getting around to reading it. Definitely on my to-do list though!

    PS: Hope you feel better soonest!

  3. Sanjeeta, thank you. From the looks of it, you seem already in charge. :)

    Marisa, I would love to read your review, whenever you get around to it. :)

  4. Gives me hope for when I turn 50 - I always greedy for travel, even if I've just returned from somewhere. But I'm not sure I can be such a free spirit, though - things like the lack of money and clean bathrooms would concern me :) Coconut fish mousse sounds interesting.
    Hope you're feeling better, take care.

  5. Sra, lack of clean bathrooms you say. The first time she decides to stay in this indeginous vrillage for a month, the bathroom is in the open, by the river. She squats for a week before a local woman lends her a skirt so she can have some privacy. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea (pee). This woman has guts and I was impressed with her resilient attitude.

  6. I loved reading the book too, and I wonder why I haven't posted the review yet.
    Your observation reg. Gilbert and Gelman is spot on.

    BTW, I've been having probs posting comments on your blog a couple of times, wonder why.

    So I will write about the chhole here - I love the vibrant colour. Somehow, I don't like my chhole black unlike the husband. Maybe with palak in it, we can both meet in the middle :)

  7. oh and as far as squating in the open...ummm...err...been there (on a trek in the himalayas) and done that. When you gotta go, you gotta go is all I will say.


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