For many years, Hugh and Colleen Gantzer have criss-crossed our endlessly intriguing land, and spanned the globe, to bring us fascinating tales of travel. Now they turn their attention to their own little town in the Himalayas. This collection presents the `mythistory' of Mussoorie, with 12 surreal tales that blur the line between fact and fiction.
Harry Potter and Bilbo Baggins would have felt at home in the world of Mussoorie's Mythistory.
Hugh and Colleen Gantzer are India's pioneering travel writers.
The subcontinent enriched them with a wide spectrum of cultural influences, adding to their Anglo-Indian heritage and their varied experiences as an Indian Naval family for many years. As a team they have won many awards for their work in bringing the world to India and India to the world. They received the National Tourism Award 2011-12 for their Intriguing India series, published by Niyogi Books. In February 2014 they were given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Government of India.
When they are not travelling, the Gantzers live in a Victorian cottage in the oak woods of the Himalayas. Like the questing bear in the old song, they still want to see what lies on the other side of the mountain.
Myths start when people ask why things happen. Fabulous entities are often created to account for such events. Myths acquire a religious awe over time and become enshrined in faith. Myths precede history. History is the science of the discovery of past events, and a scholarly assessment of their impact on society. History evolves as new discoveries are made and new insights are obtained into human behaviour. One of the many sources of history is myth. Mythistory is a word we have coined for that tenuous area which lies between myth and history. It is as transient and ephemeral as pollen on a butterfly's wing. It needs to be captured in the full flush of its creation, or it withers. At the heart of the 12 stories in this book is a real event. At the core of every pearl is a tiny irritant that the oyster's body could neither digest not reject, so it built a protective wall of nacre, mother-of-pearl, around it. That is how these stories began, and grew. There is a Burnt Hill to the east of Mussoorie.
Its local name is Pali Tibba: Fairy Hill. No one has given a credible explanation for its odd appearance and so, mythistory filled the gap. Similarly,people did have strange hobbies in the 1940s, which often led to odd consequences; there were nightclubs in the hotels with dance bands, singers, and exotic cabarets which some people detested; a pretty shop assistant did spend some time bathing for one of our ruling princes; and a slightly deranged war veteran did vanish after visiting a poultry farm. All these are historical facts which the people of Mussoorie could neither reject nor digest. And so they built surreal tales around them. Welcome to the strange pearls of Mussoorie's Mythistory.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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