Curry Lit: Writing Authentically About India by Naban Ruthnum
This article has been published on the Paris Review website. It begins:
Even if the Indian subcontinent was never your home to begin with, it can serve—and has served—as a spiritual home in conversation, books, films, and pilgrimage-like trips. In her 1979 book Karma Cola, Gita Mehta observed these visitors and the industry of fake fakirs who sprang up around them to embrace their curiosity and take their money. As the vivid success of Eat Pray Love and Chip Wilson’s Lululemon empire have proven, the guru era is far from over. There are fraudulent ashrams and cultish inveiglers all over the subcontinent and in the islands where the disapora scattered: everyone has a cousin—or six—who gives 38 percent of their income to a leader who, in exchange, relieves them of their connections to family and friends. In the West, too, gurus proliferate in small local temples, Sai Baba megastructures, and the Bikram Yoga training camp.