Monday, 4 June 2007

Is Home an Illusion?

When I was visiting Chiang Mai in Thailand around 3 years ago I was fortunate to share a few drinks and some philosophical chatter with a man I can best describe as a guru of travel and nomadic living.

At that time I was having what I can only describe as an identity crisis. I’d met a wide array of different characters and experienced several different lifestyles – all of which I discovered I could adapt to amazingly well – so well in fact – I thought I was a chameleon – and I felt as though I had lost complete sense of who I actually was, not to mention where I actually belonged.

In this composed but lost state, my meeting with Mo Tejani seemed so much of a coincidence it resembled a gift from someone or something up above. There I was at a time when I was pondering on how chameleon-like humans can be – when who should I meet – but a man who was writing a book called “A Chameleon’s Tale”.

Now – 3 years later – the book which was then in the making is now published and has even been selected as one of nine finalists for the 2007 PEN/ Beyond Margins Book Award in New York.

What follows has been taken directly from the back cover of the book – there are no better words I can give to summarise this insightful piece of work, which displays unrivalled insights and knowledge into a tripod of different cultures, global history and the human psyche.

“Is Home and Illusion?”
“Mo Tejani – an Indian Shia Muslim by ancestry – was expelled from Idi Amin’s Uganda in 1972. Torn apart from his family, and exiled from the continent of his birth, he was suddenly left homeless, with little sense of his own cultural identity. Over the next three decades on the road, he worked with non-profit agencies, learned a slew of new languages, met fellow cultural nomads in forlorn and faraway places, and became involved I some of the world’s most significant historical events.

In this entertaining, globetrotting memoir, the author travels through all five continents in search of a place he can call home. The trials and tribulations of ‘identity shopping’ in the ‘multicultural supermarket’ of today almost bring him to the brink of alienation, but, as he discovers over the years, there are many along the road who are ready to lend a helping hand. Join him on his journey as he seeks liberation from his cultural chains and the catharsis of realizing his true identity.”

Jo Cummings – author of Lonely Planet Thailand reports: “Hold tight for a 50 year gonzo ride from Africa to America to Asia, captured by Mo’s camera-like eye for pivotal events”.

1 comment:

nomad4ever said...

Home is an illusion - for sure! But it's hard to find that out. Mainly you know it when you come back and everyone is gone. Of course it can be nice to come back home, but then you can be happy everywhere. If you can call a place home, really depends on how much your heart is involved......


Life is what you make it!