Litanies Of Dutch Battery
By: En Es Madhavan
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Born in Dutch Battery, one of the many islands that speckle...Read more
Born in Dutch Battery, one of the many islands that speckle Kochi waters, Edwina Theresa Irene Maria Anne Margarita Jessica is heir to the keepsakes and stories brought by the sea and winds. Entwined with her life are those of other Ëbridgeless' islanders, disconnected from the mainland every night with the departure of the last ferry boat: Jessica's great-grandfather Louis, who stole the calculus of shipbuilding from his master and settled in Dutch Battery to start its first boatyard; her uncle Edwin, who learned the art of making biryani from his father, who, in turn, learned it from a carpetseller from Shiraz; Santiague, who was as passionate about staging the nearly extinct operatic drama, chavittunatakam, as he was about his evening toddy; the smallpox vaccinator, Saradamma, whose very shadow made the islanders scoot for cover; and Comrade Ramachandra Shenoy, last in a long line of proselytizers like the Carmelite, Dominican and Jesuit missionaries, who succeeded in starting a unit of the Communist Party in Dutch Battery. As Jessica dispassionately watches the victories, failures and redemptions of the other islanders, she finds herself caught in a relentless swirl of events.
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