We shared a review of ‘Ghosts of Landour‘ earlier, we share another review of the captivating world of “Ghosts of Landour,” a cultural fiction masterpiece set in the picturesque town of Landour, where young adventurers Seher, Warris, and Maya embark on a journey that delves into the heart of hillside life.
This book is a mosaic of a cultural fiction story, that is held together by a set of young urbane characters, the adventurers, Seher, Warris and Maya, when Seher visits her family home in the quaint town of Landour from her Mumbai home (from where Seher hails), a local insight is added with her interaction with the rest of the children, locals of Landour.
This story has been set post 2013. As the author mentions the shifting of the Dhari Devi Temple. Dhari Devi, has been considered a primary hill deity, for at least the last 1000 years. The floods alluded to in the book were a result of cloud burst and shifting of the temple of this revered Goddess. While mentioned as the backdrop to the adventures of the three young protagonists, the author sheds light on the cost of development in the ecologically sensitive areas such as the region of Alaknanda, where the events of this story are set.
The ecological cost of development becomes apparent in the later parts of the story as well, with the incorporation of local vegetation such as Deodar, and the disappearance of Darukavans.
The story also takes note of important spring Festivals, where locals are encouraged to support and protect local vegetation. While the plot twists and colourful adventurous landscapes, it is a rich journey through the hillside, that makes it engaging for more mature readers, the mention of sites such as the old Church with the graveyard, an image right out of colonial period hill-stations, a Sanitarium and market area, harken a reader, to recall days of their youth and revisit the charm of a pre-globalised hill-station, with simple pleasures of tea and pakoras to fight the chill in the air.
Another interesting element that sets the Ghosts of Landour apart from other books in its genre, is its borrowing without direct reference to mythological legends and religious texts, while apparent throughout the book, this is clear in the naming of the female Characters, Maya and Uma, named after the concepts of illusion and Goddess Parvati, these characters play an important role in shaping the story.
Further, the role of the Dwarf Ghost, reminds the aware reader of the dwarf Apasmara, ignorance and the lack of knowledge, through his role, he guides the principal characters of the story to their next adventure.
This book is a must read for all those who want to explore the genre for a new and refreshing take on familiar grounds. The frequent usage of local terms and names, also gives the reader a feel of experiencing the sights, sounds and scents of the mountains from the comfort of your home!
The featured Little Girl is Yasna Bajaj
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Aparna Joshi is a Writer, Researcher and keen Traveller, whose travels within India and overseas, drew her to ancient sites, monuments, museums and places of worship. A visit to the Peace Palace at The Hague led to the publication of her first book on Kindle, 'The ICC comes of Age at 18', tracing the establishment of the International Criminal Court on 1st July 2002 at The Hague under the Statute of Rome, now adopted by 129 countries in November 2019. She completed her Second book on Kindle called 'India and Her Neighbours: Past, Present and Future' in 2022.