Coming Back to the City: Mumbai Stories
Author: Anuradha Kumar
9789389231519 | PB | pp. 318 | 2019 | Speaking Tiger
Coming Back to the City draws us effortlessly, completely into the lives of people of Bombay–people caught in a web of unexpected love, desperate ambition and endless, addictive optimism.
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In parel’s Jupiter Mills chawl, one of the few remaining ones in Mumbai, live many long-time residents: Pooja, restless and trapped in an unhappy marriage, finds joy in her flourishing dabba service and attempts at learning English. Her husband Mahesh’s only dream is to zip through the streets in his bosses Yellow Mercedes-Benz. Dr Joshi, a famed artist, has hidden away two paintings: one of a murder he witnessed, and the other a striking portrait of Pooja.
In the parallel Mumbai of high-rises live the affluent few: Suhel, a confirmed Bachelor, who finds himself falling in love—first with a portrait and then its subject, Pooja. Ghatge, mahesh’s boss and an upcoming politician of dubious repute. A young and disturbed journalist Raina Gupta who opens up old wounds when she interviews veteran activist Neera Joshi about the mill-workers’ strike of the 1980s and her scandalous affair with its assassinated leader. And Dr Sneha Desai, a successful but Lonely radiologist, fighting to restart her sex-education classes for adolescents in a municipal school.
In the Mumbai of mills and malls where everything–especially land–is at a premium, the chawl becomes the target of greedy real-estate barons and sleazy politicians, thus bringing together this interconnected cast of characters. As vast and diverse as Mumbai itself, Coming Back to the City draws us effortlessly, completely into the lives of the people who animate the maximum city, even as they are consumed by it–people caught in a web of unexpected love, desperate ambition and endless, addictive optimism.
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