Saturday, September 4, 2010
This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 14; the fourteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following
Blog a Ton
I finally return to what I had once upon a time started on a different page. Known to few, unknown to many, I merged my book appreciation blog with this one. It was a zealously started initiative that got neglected until finally I decided to give it a permanent closure. Whether the decision was wise / unwise, hasty / thoughtful, didn’t brood too much over it.
So what prompts me to return back to writing a book summary?
Having participated in 3 consecutive Blog A Tons, didn’t want to give this one a miss. So the subject assists me to return to this segment.
It is not everyday that Indian Born, New York based Writers produce Maximum City. Suketu Mehtha’s Bombay Lost and Found is a Point to point account of his experiences in the newly discovered city. What begins as a travelogue turns more narrative, with blends of biographical and autographical references. For those living, breathing and waking up to the city every morning, Maximum City is like an ongoing screenplay of the city you live.
You wake upto reality when you are told, clustering of 7 islands into 1 city is nothing but Man’s quest to capture water, and conquer land. Construction of Mumbai (then, Bombay) therefore becomes a struggle against the Sea.
He describes Democracy as an exercise, legitimate or otherwise of Powertoni (power of attorney). A right that people take upon themselves under the name of democracy.
Despite being nonfiction, the narration enumerates interesting acquaintances. Sunil a smart cable operator with political proximity who gets his share, irrespective of whether the city loses or gains. Ajay, young, fearless cop, a name the crime world shudders to hear. Suketu’s references to Radhabai Chawl and Napean Sea Road (renamed Lady Laxmibai Jagmohandas Marg, something I just learnt) stand out distinctively. In the words of the author, every city has a catalyst event, Bombay got it, way back in 93’ in the form of Communal Riots.
From the story of slums to reclamation and renaming, it’s a fast paced narration, one shouldn’t miss.