Imagine touring a different foreign country each year and bringing your two sons along with you! It’s a tradition for author Mariann Margulis to decide with her children where their annual travel spot will be.
In 2008, they jointly agreed to tour India for seventeen days. The choice thrilled Margulis, since India had always intrigued her as a child, with its alluring jewels, opulent fabrics, images of the Taj Mahal, and a host of exotic culinary flavors. In her memory, Benares, later renamed Varanasi, was a magical place full of rituals, sacred traditions, and Hindu holy men, or Sadhus. She could hardly wait for the experience!
Bats, Rats and Holy Cows or Seventeen Days in India: One Family’s Adventure is a memoir recounting the trio’s unforgettable trip to this very different land, as she travels with her two sons, ages twelve and ten, throughout the exotic country of India. Her typical maternal remarks are ones that you will relate to, as are the awkward reactions given by these three Americans as they encounter villagers from remote areas, lepers, and Hindu holy men, or Sadhus. At one point, they even begin to wonder if the younger child could be a messiah. Journey with them through Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Varanasi, and the region of Rajasthan and live through the mishaps, misunderstandings, and madness of their misadventures. Explore the off-beaten paths of India as the adventurous trio tour by plane, train, automobiles, and of course, camels. Experience India like a native as you imagine yourself walking with them barefoot through the Rat Temple, sailing on the River Ganges amidst decomposing bodies, and driving through a sandstorm in the Thar Desert. The shared insights and personal perspectives of the places visited by the family make this travel guide personal, exciting, and engaging. The light-hearted depiction of their encounters in charming India provide an informative, enjoyable read for anyone who is fascinated by diverse cultures with authentic, often humorous, reactions to the unfamiliar curiosities of a life far from Western culture.
Traveling with young people adds unexpected viewpoints to the experience, its rewards, and the numerous learning opportunities. Not only is this type of travel exciting and informative, the introduction of drastically different cultures to novice travelers is priceless for readers of all ages and backgrounds. Bats, Rats and Holy Cows or Seventeen Days in India: One Family’s Adventure invites you along on a family’s delightful journey to intriguing India. Whether you are interested in diverse cultures or are planning to visit, this entertaining memoir will make you feel like you are traveling along with them while still enjoying a witty and entertaining read.
“… the charms of India win over the family, and readers will be engrossed in the trio’s experiences in Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur and especially the Thar Desert. Margulis offers information about each place they visit… Her writing is strong (she has contributed to Fodor’s) and readers may come to see her as something of a parental role model because she allows her sons to experience India on their own terms, not necessarily hers. By turns amusing (and) touching, this travelogue colorfully portrays India, perhaps convincingly enough for readers to want to visit with their own children.” – Kirkus Reviews
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