By William Dalrymple
Gleaming with irrepressible wit, City of Djinns peels again the layers of Delhi's centuries-old heritage, revealing a rare array of characters alongside the way-from eunuchs to descendants of serious Moguls. With refreshingly open-minded interest, William Dalrymple explores the seven "dead" towns of Delhi in addition to the 8th city-today's Delhi. Underlying his quest is the legend of the djinns, fire-formed spirits which are acknowledged to guarantee the city's Phoenix-like regeneration regardless of what percentage instances it really is destroyed. wonderful, attention-grabbing, and informative, City of Djinns is an impossible to resist mix of study and experience.
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Extra info for City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
He was laughed to scorn for returning with tales of people who actually ate the nests of birds, which they boiled over fires of burning black stones – seven centuries before the same black stones were discovered and harnessed in Europe to fuel the Industrial Revolution. Many of the subsequent early navigators recorded a brush with the southern archipelago, long before its general shape was known. Magellan’s tattered fleet, on its historic circumnavigation, lost a further ship in Indonesian waters while limping home after Magellan himself had been killed in a skirmish in the Philippines.
This form of ‘guerrilla ethnography’ has obvious advantages over larger, better-equipped crews with more limited time in the field, but it does not include the consolations of insurance, institutional funding or any guarantee of selling the films afterwards. Working sometimes independently of one another on separate teams, but for the most part together, we managed to capture some 80 hours of usable film spanning nine separate expeditions. This required juggling between us the hats of sleuths, writers, researchers, logisticians, cameramen, diplomats, doctors, navigators, tooth-pullers and leech-pluckers, to name but a few.
Lydia, herself an inveterate explorer, was now aware that her three years in Java had been quite enough of an inner workout, and she returned to Europe to comb the Mediterranean for a solitary place to centre herself. She had just enough money left after selling up in Mexico to buy a small finca in Ibiza, where she settled in to survive on a war widow’s pension and the proceeds from her annual harvest of almonds. By our mid-twenties, Lorne and I had returned to England penniless but hopeful, with our BA degrees from Mexico in Business and Philosophy.
City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple