Ahmedabad is a city that is at the intersection of the old and the new. Dargahs and havelis of a bygone era stand cheek-by-jowl with glitzy modern high-rises. Folk arts coexist with haute couture and nouveau cuisine. Between shopping malls and glitzy apartments, one can spot turban-and-dhoti-clad men driving their cattle on the streets. It was once called the ‘walled city’. Today, the walls don’t stand any more; instead illusory walls have crept up between the city’s communities, pulling them apart.
Esther David is one of the few resident Jews of India. She has been collecting city stories of Ahmedabad for many years—garnered from her life, from her experiences of living in the city, a city that still retains the quality of an overgrown village. And she writes through a unique lens: that of the outsider who is and is not a part of this pulsating, vibrant culture. The book traces Ahmedabad’s 600-year-old heritage while delving into what makes it tick today, in the twenty-first century, and why it is so special to her.