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Shantaram by G.D. Roberts

"If an abundance of good food, laughter, singing, and a amiable disposition can be taken as indicators of well-being and happiness, then the villagers [in India] eclipsed their western counterparts in those qualities of life."

p. 132

"Now, long years and many journeys after that first ride on a crowded rural train, I know that the scrambled fighting and courteous deference were both expressions of the one philosophy: the doctrine of necessity. The amount of force and violence necessary to board the train, for example, was no less and no more than the amount of politeness and consideration necessary to ensure that the cramped journey was as pleasant as possible afterwards. What is necessary? That was the unspoken but implied and unavoidable question everywhere in India."

p. 105


Personal commentary in linked Bonus post.

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