Sunday, November 30, 2014

Magic Mountain (1945) by Eve Orme


Free give away rare book this month for
 SearchKashmir Free Book ProjectThis is the eleventh book released this year. Remember, these are mostly books that were not previously publicly available online.


In 1926, a British woman, Eve Orme, accompanied her husband on a shikar trip to Ladakh. It was unusual back then for a 'memsahib' to accompany a sahib on a hunting trip to Ladakh. Usually the men would go hunting to Ladakh while their women would lounge in Srinagar. Something that Orme considered ordinary holiday of ordinary woman. She wanted something more. An escape from ordinary.


In around 1945, while Britain was still a war zone, writing this 'Magic Mountain' from here personal diaries proved to be an escape from the harsh realities of World War two.

"I am at home in London with its dusty look of war-weariness; its battered, razed buildings, and its steadfast calm.
A woman passes me in Bond Street, leaving a whiff behind her of what is perhaps her last drain of expensive French scent, minty and aromatic. How strange that after eighteen years, in the heart of this island fortress, an evanescent trail of perfume should still take me back so swiftly to Ladakh. That it should remind me of the cheerful, grinning faces of our ponymen, of Rahim, who wrote though a "munshi" some years after our arrival in England, "My body is in the East, but my eyes and heart, Memsahib, turn always to the West." The ache to be on the road is in my heart again as I think of the mountain, peace, and that almighty silence."

Interesting bits:

Ladakhis staging a skit in about the sahibs visiting their land. They make fun of the fact that Kashmiris are not great mountaineers.


In Ladakh, Eve Orme met novelist Martin L Gompertz, famous as 'Ganpat'. Ganpat went to write about his experience of the trip in 'Magic Ladakh' (1928).


Eve Orme also met a French woman named Mlle La Fougie who was travelling alone in the region looking for Ladakhi paintings.

A taxidermist named Mohammed Baba in Srinagar. The same name crops up in travelogue of Walter Del Mar published in 1906, 'The romantic East: Burma, Assam, & Kashmir'

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