Once Upon A Hill

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Harper Collins, Jul 6, 2012 - Social Science - 248 pages
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Exploring the world is easy today, all one needs is the internet. Getting to know the ground beneath one's feet is quite another story. I began to look for the island on which I live, and, it wasn't there. So began my quest. Why was it difficult to read the landscape? All its past had been viewed from ships at sea, or from libraries in lands I had never been to.All its history was hearsay and all its storytellers were dead. I was an alchemist at the edge of discovery. Andheri is where I stood, and Andheri is geology on speed. Hills explode, rocks shudder and slide, rivers slouch in culverts, the sea is dismissed, and the land sweats people at every pore. Andheri is protean with mad caprice. A lake in the industrial district memorializes lost fields, a milestone marks a vanished road, a blind alley recalls a king, and our memorials are jailed in wire-mesh with dire warnings in three languages. We're going underground, we're up in the air, we'll do the metro wriggle, the skywalk or trapeze, we'll do the right green thing on a prayer and a concrete wing, we'll flatten the hills, push back the sea, and we'll make even more room for the builder and me. The idea of Andheri is shaped from the land it is built upon. Who will uncover that for me? How do you find something hidden in plain sight? Begin in a village named for an epidemic, witness an exorcism, and enter a labyrinth. Emerge with a mirage and meet a curious cartographer. Journey 60 million years with a turtle and a frog. Then, finally, find Gilbert Hill. Once Upon A Hill is a plea from Kalpish Ratna to their city of Bombay. Gilbert Hill is where our past and future are gathered. Shall we revere this still point, or as seems inexorable, destroy it with our dance ?
 

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Contents

An Exorcism on Gilbert Hill
The Monument That Wasnt
The Curious Cartographer
The Singing Stones
Once Upon A Hill
The Turtle and Frog
Carters Shashti
Finders Keepers Loosers
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Ishrat Syed and Kalpana Swaminathan write together as Kalpish Ratna. Writing science is their passion, and they believe it has its true place in the arts. Their Compendium of Family Health offers a quick logic to understanding symptoms, crises, and confusing medicalese. Their novel The Quarantine Papers was shortlisted for the 2010 Vodafone-Crossword Award. Ishrat Syed is a Pediatric and General Surgeon. Ishrat Syed, the photographer, is concerned with the ravages on nature. His October 2011 exhibition The Persistence of Memory previewed his larger project Palimpsest:The Erasures That Made Bombay. Kalpana Swaminathan is a Pediatric Surgeon. She won the 2009 Vodafone-Crossword Fiction Award for Venus Crossing. Her newest novel is I Never Knew It Was You.

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