Maximum city;I encountered this name from one of Amitav Ghosh’s comment on the book. He was very liberal in praising it, I was curious about Bombay always, many of my close ones live there and they always talk about the city, hence i wanted to read this book by Suketu Mehta and finally read the best book I read last year, and the list includes book like “Hungry tide” too. What this book is about? The title said
“What does a man look like when he is on fire”? Well this was the way the second chapter started and after few lines I realized he is into serious business, I could not leave the book till I finished 584 pages. So what Suketu did? He took the decision to write this amazing book and started working on it with an eye of an anthropologist.
The first chapter he describes his drive towards
The second chapter is he talks about Hindu extremists. Suketu, though identified himself from hindu religious strata, strongly believed that the hindu extremist group Shiv Sena and their premier Bal Thakrey is pretty much responsible for the present state of the city. This chapter has a shocking description of a man when he was killed in fire and when it was from the killer himself it scares you. It’s a very moving chapter, the life of the people involved in the riot move around places like Jogeswari. The interesting part was his interview with Bal Thakrey himself, it is worth following.
Third long chapter is about cops in Mumbai, Suketu had really put down the vivid inside story goes around Mumbai cops, he gets in touch with a cop who was the key brain behind catching the 1993 Bombay blast accused. The whole chapter goes around the commissioner. His portray of the police department is really excellent, its almost not opinionated. He describes how the encounter specialist were born and the hypocrisies and underworld threat looms over
Without gangstars the city is incomplete hence Suketu gets himself inside the underworld, could bring out the stories about gang war and the lives of the shooters. Probably the most nonchalant way of describing the lives of these murderers, at times you may feel chill passing through you spine! His work never showed any dishonesty to the subject, to know how the big bosses think about themselves Suketu interviewed Chhota Sakeel, one of the most wanted gangster in
So his journey to find the lost
Then comes the
Does the story end here? No, so Suketu scripts a middle class family with aspirations inside, they move out from the slums to a small flat outskirt of Mumbai, as usual middle class stories don’t have excitements but you will feel the difference about Bombaities for sure. Their ambitions and needs are different from the others. How about the foothpath? Stats says 50% of the foot path in Mumbai is occupied by people, Suketu finds a poet in the street! The problems with Biharis in the city comes alive here. The young Bihari poet has been a representative of the dreamers inside the city.
The last chapter is the most violent without any decscription of bloodshed; he was talking about a Jain family who are becoming a monk. It is really beyond my imagination that how it will feel when the whole family stay together but without interacting and follow some rituals.
This book is a great example of the best kind of journalism. I would have tempted to say crime journalism, but he went beyond that. The lucid language of Suketu will really impress you. Many places his statement will surely leave more impact that the whole description. His writing was not opinionated at all. He praised the city dwellers at times, Mumbai is a safe city, much safer than the other cities in