Over and Under Ground in Mumbai and Paris
Poets Sampurna Chattarji and Karthika Nair bring us unforgettable glimpses of the world
around us through this travelogue in verse that explores, turn by turn, the local train networks
of their respective homes, Mumbai and Paris. This book traces the gigantic, omnipresent
arterial systems that transform each city into living, breathing creatures; it refracts the busy but
often unseen worlds beneath the surface grime and glitter of capitals that so many millions
dream about, seek as refuge and often struggle to survive in. Brilliantly visualised by the
renowned French illustrator Joëlle Jolivet and the extraordinarily talented young Gond artist,
Roshni Vyam, Over and Under Ground in Mumbai & Paris is an attempt to celebrate the
multiplicity of gazes—through word and image, language and shape and colour.
Elegiac, unsettling, gorgeous: a tale of two cities, two poets, and an urgent epistolary exchange.
— Jeet Thayil
In this dazzling book which weaves together the voices and gazes of four artists on two
formidable cities, Mumbai and Paris come alive and are seen anew. These poems and
images embrace the life-throbbing, pulsating vigour of the city, the fragments of stories
and memories, wonder and mourning that attach themselves to the train tracks and
metro lines. This is poetry of celebration and resilience at its glorious best, where the
lifeline of art and poetry connects and restores what has been broken or damaged, and
sings of spaces where strangers become neighbours. A book of breathtaking beauty and
haunting humanity, to treasure, to relish and to share.
— Laetitia Zecchini