In this special issue, we take you down the rivers of India for glimpses of beauty and the abundance of life. Click here to read all the related stories
The Ghosts in the Water by Pratik Kanjilal: A modern American classic, the Spoon River Anthology, does not seem to have travelled well in our region. Admittedly, it’s no Life on the Mississippi. It isn’t about a river at all, actually. It is about a fictional town near a real river. Specifically, it is about the town’s graveyard. More particularly, it is about the inhabitants of the graveyard who, being certifiably dead, are at liberty to tell the unvarnished truth about their lives.
Once Upon a River by Sanjeev Sanyal: In the year 1671, the Ahom kingdom (roughly now modern Assam) faced a crisis. A huge Mughal army was making its way north from Bengal and threatening to completely overwhelm it. For the previous two generations, the Assamese had been under continuous pressure from the Mughals but had used diplomacy and guerrilla tactics to hold off the invaders — but it looked like their time was up.
A River Runs Through It by Omair Ahmad: Much of the pleasure of a detective novel is the intense description of the place and the people involved. A good mystery throws clues in the way of the reader, and tempts them to solve the mystery before the detective does. The best of these are arguably the riddles solved by Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, or Isaac Asimov’s The Black Widowers’ Club, where all the clues are present – just not obvious.
Walking on Thin Ice by Neelima Vallangi: Standing on the cliff edge on a beautiful summer afternoon, I remember watching the dramatic confluence of two great rivers: the clear and green Indus, and the raging and muddy Zanskar. Surrounded by the indomitable mountains in Ladakh, the sound of the flowing water was reverberating through the valley. The meandering Zanskar looked every bit like the wild river that it is known to be. It is a river so furious that there is no stillness in its wake. The currents and rapids are so forceful that they carved out a deep gorge through the mighty Himalayas. I wouldn’t have imagined in a million years that this river could ever fall silent.
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