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Monday, January 2, 2012

First Page Mondays: Kartography by Kamila Shamsie


As part of the First Page Mondays at The Book Worm, here's the first page from the book Kartography by Kamila Shamsie.

'Of course the garden is located where all our beginning, Karim's and mine, are located: Karachi. That spider-plant city where, if you know what to look for and some higher power is feeling indulgent, you might find a fossilized footprint of Alexander. The Great. He led his army through Karachi, long, long before the spider-plant effect took hold, when Karachi was a harbour named Krokola. Perhaps Alexander's was the first army that stirred up the sand along the eastern coast of the Arabian Sea.

That's an interesting thought.

Though, really, its never been proved that Karachi is Krokola, and even if it is Alexander probably never stepped foot on its shores; so any ancient Macedonian footprints with heelstamps of authority in Karachi's rocks must belong to Alexander's admiral, Nearchus, who wasn't even Macedonian. He was a Cretan and that sounds rude.

I don't know if Karim and I were actually looking for ancient footprints in the rockery of Karim's garden that October evening, the day all boxes were unpacked and the move from Karim's old house finally completed, but I do know that we were more than happy with our discovery of a fossilized cuttlefish.

'You sure it's a cuttlefish?' I said, turning the diamond-shaped fossil over in my hands. We were sitting cross-legged, side by side, on the grass that bordered the triangle of soil on which the rockery had been set out. Mud on his knees and chlorophyll on mine, though as we sat close, swaying back with laughter and forward with curiosity, the colours were mingling, dun shot through with emerald.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta