'Bending Over Backwards' book review: A Journey Within

This picaresque travelogue is an arduous journey that takes the author from the innards of a posturologist’s office in northern Italy to the rarified air of Boulder.

Published: 01st December 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th November 2019 03:40 PM   |  A+A-

Low back pain

For representational purposes

Express News Service

Carlo Pizzaati’s Bending Over Backwards is a humorous though intrepid story of a man who sets out looking for a cure for his chronic backache that has been torturing him for long years. “I know, it sounds banal, and is perhaps a cliché, but that’s the story—like so many others before me, I also came to India looking for answers.”

This picaresque travelogue is an arduous journey that takes the author from the innards of a posturologist’s office in northern Italy to the rarified air of Boulder; from a trance-dance location hidden to the casual observer near the woods of Clinque Terre to an exorcist-shaman’s lair near Buenos Aires. And then he stumbles on an Ashtangayoga centre in the Deccan. This is the story of how a nagging backache brings the author to India. 

The strenuous yogic discipline reveals to the author an insight into his past births. It changes his life forever. As we travel along with the narrator, one is aware of the meshing of technology with spirituality. Of course, there are no readymade platitudes—one has to face one’s fears and failures head on for in life there are no rewind buttons. And that is precisely what makes this book readable.

 There is always a hint of humour in the most depressing of times: “My partner and I are separating only two years after the birth of our adorable son, Teo… he sleeps so serenely, never complains, always seem to have a wise gaze on our conflictual reality…” This is even as the author quits his job as a talk-show host on national television. Every morning finds him moderating politicians discussing the news of the moment. But the distress begins to leach into his own life. Enough damage has been done by constantly delving into other folks’ lives. 

At 40, Carlo decides to start writing his own story. To try and cure his constant backache, he visits the charismatic Dr Seta who nails the problem down to his troubled childhood growing up under the looming shadow of an authoritarian father. “Your body is constantly ready to react in one of two ways: fight or flight. This means troubles for your back.”

Alternative healing methods demand leaving his conflict-filled home for a journey around the world. A decade later, he finds himself in a house on a beach on the Bay of Bengal with a wife and three dogs, listening to the chatter of voices on 104.8 FM Chennai Live—the city’s only English-language radio station. What happens next? To find out, get yourself a copy of Carlo Pizzati’s Bending Over Backwards.

'Bending Over Backwards' by Carlo Pizzati
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 201
Price: Rs 399

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