In the Kumaon region of the Himalayas, the mountains are believed to be 'Dev Bhoomi' - the abode of the gods. In a little village here, under the shadow of Trishul and Nanda Devi, Pamela Chatterjee has found a home, after decades spent in the big cities of the plains. She lives among the villagers as one of them, sharing their daily lives. Here, farmers toil in the fields and hope that the weather is kind to them; women are isolated during their monthly 'unclean period'; and young brides move to a different village. As the seasons change from the long spring straight to the monsoons and then the bitterly cold winter, some old beliefs make way for new ones. Farmers agree to put aside ancient cures and adopt new scientific procedures to counter the rapidly spreading foot-and-mouth disease in their livestock, older women struggle with pens as their children show them how to sign their names, and people come together to lay pipes to bring water to an isolated hamlet.
Full of many such memorable vignettes, "Listen to the Mountains" blends observations of the flora and fauna with descriptions of the culture, traditions and rituals of Kumaon, and is enriched by the wonderfully intimate portrayals of the local people. Adding to the charm of the book are Catherine Addor-Confino's brilliant illustrations.
Pamela Chatterjee spent her early years in the hills, and although she spent thirty years of her adult life in Mumbai, the call of the mountains persisted. Only after her two daughters grew up and found their own way in life was she able to move to the mountains again. She now lives in a village in Kumaon, Uttaranchal. This is her first book.