Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Hind Pocket Books

Things To Leave Behind- an Excerpt

Things to Leave Behind brings alive the romance of the mixed legacy of British-Indian past. A rich, panoramic historical novel that shows you Kumaon and the Raj as you have never seen them, the book is full of the fascinating backstory of Naineetal and its unwilling entry into Indian history, throwing a shining light on the elemental confusion of caste, creed and culture, illuminated with painstaking detail.Things to Leave Behind is a fascinating historical epic and Namita Gokhale’s most ambitious novel yet.
Here is a brief excerpt from the book:

In 1856,  just before the fateful year of the Indian Mutiny,  a curious phenomenon was observed in the fledgling hill station of Naineetal. Six native women, draped in black and scarlet pichauras, circled the lake for three days, singing mournful songs which no one could understand. As they used the lower road, reserved for dogs and Indians, the British sahib-log chose to ignore their antics.
The Pahari community was, however, thrown into a panic. Thehill people knew, as the British did not, that it was the inauspicious month of the Shraddhas, when the spirits of the dead and gone hover over the lake in the late autumn evenings. Scarlet and black were colours sacred to the death cults and to the goddess Kali. These women could only be dakinis, evil female spirits with some dark, accursed purpose. But they said nothing, not even to each other. They hid their apprehensions behind stern looks and a tight-lipped silence, for, sometimes, to recognize an evil is to give it more force. Then there were the snails.
In the season after the first monsoon showers, snails had begun appearing in multitudes by the lake shore. Now they lay thick on the rocks, layers and layers of them, squirming and undulating. It was not a pretty sight, and Mr Lushington tried his best to investigate the cause of this unusual occurrence. He pored through the first two volumes of the Himalayan Gazetteer, so painstakingly compiled through the admirable efforts of Mr Atkinson. He searched the sections on the forests andwild tribes, and consulted the 1835 treatise on ‘Kemaon Geology & Natural Science’ by McClellant as well as Hooker’s Himalayan Journals: Notes of a Naturalist. Finally‚ he arrived at the conclusion that a particularly prolonged summer had destroyed the frog spawn, and that the mollusc population had consequently proliferated.
The hill folk of course knew better. ‘It’s the voice of the lake goddess,’ they whispered amongst themselves. ‘The lake goddess Naina Devi has sent her servants to announce her displeasure!’ When a young Englishwoman drowned near the rocks by the Ayarpatta shore, a new certainty entered these pronouncements. The whispers were louder and more insistent. ‘The lake goddess demands propitiation,’ the local Paharis told each other. ‘She is avenging the intrusion of the white man on her sacred waters.’

Set in the years 1840 to 1912, Things to Leave Behind chronicles the mixed legacy of the British Indian past and the emergence of a fragile modernity.

Things To Leave Behind: Romancing the past

Set in the years 1840 – 1912, Namita Gokhale’s new novel ‘Things to Leave Behind’ brings alive the mixed legacy of the British Raj. The third in her Himalayan series, it evokes the breath-taking beauty of the Kumaon region. Set in a past we have not quite left behind, it chronicles the struggle for love and freedom of three generations of Kumaoni women and the emergence of a fragile modernity at a time of intense change.
Things to Leave Behind: The last novel in the Himalayan trilogy
The book chronicles the mixed legacy of the British Indian past.
The strong and enigmatic woman characters who are at the heart of Things To Leave Behind
Things To Leave Behind evokes the landscape, the ferns and flowers, trees and clouds, of Kumaon.
At the heart of the novel lies one singular painting: a portrait of love, longing and courage.
The story brings a not-so-distant past to life.
The history of rail transport in India began in 1853, forever changing the history of the subcontinent.
Forming a bridge between the past and the future
Witness nature like never before.
Get the book here.

error: Content is protected !!