As Nine Hills One Valley begins, seven wise men are jolted from eternal slumber by nightmares. Sons run, desperately seeking the safety of their mothers' arms. A howling demon disfigures the sacred dancers of the Ras Lila. Atrocities are reduced to ephemeral headlines in day-old newspapers that fill the stage. What is happening to their progeny, the people of Manipur? Reluctantly, they determine to write new "Puyas" -- books of wisdom that outline modern principles of justice, equality, governance, loyalty, homeland, and obligation. They call for the liberation of the mind from the tyranny and oppression of stagnation, but most of all they urge us to look deeply within for the key to end the restlessness endemic in our societies. In the face of violence, venality, instability, and poverty, the work asks "how do we sustain ourselves when our cultural traditions are cut off?" At
the end of the work lamps are lit on top of nine hills, symbolizing hope for the future.
Frontline (India) said of the work, "Thiyam's visual spectacles have always been unrivalled... It has epic sweep but also becomes as personal as a sonnet. It billows into a universal lament, and warning."