Monday, 17 September 2012

Book Review: Piyush Jha's Mumbaistan

Mumbaistan by Piyush Jha

I had been a mother and a chance reader for all these years. Thanks to the AABG team efforts- I could now take a step towards speaking up about my views on a book. The quote from Ekta Kapoor on the cover page of the Piyush Jha’s Mumbaistan- had captivated me. I am not ashamed to confess- once even I was addicted to her marathon serials, much to the chagrin of my husband. But this book is beyond the realm of complexities knotted together.

Thanks to my daughter’s long explanations- I can finally understand one thing. “If you can visualize a scene and write it down as a detailed storyboard or a script- you can write anything with a little inner push”. I don’t believe Piyush is an accidental writer- he has the capacity to make you chase his “Coma Man”. He is capable of trying to confuse you -whether his “Injectionwala” is a messiah or a cynical con man. The story- “Bomb Day” to me- was not a hard hearted gang story- police encounter events narrated without compassion. My nephew would say he felt it was Angelina’s “Salt under an Indian disguise”- but to me it was a different taste of “A Wednesday”. I am sorry if I am talking about movies at length. My mistake can be explained under the pretext of the existing thin vein between a storywriter and a script writer or a director. The stories are too real and perfectly described as macabre tales. This is not my Conrad or Heminway world- this is a commercial city reeking of crime and deceit. I could have drawn parallels with Robert Lodlum- but western writers fall short of delivering the correct measure of homeliness- even at times of turmoil.
If you are reading Piyush’s plot line- you question your existence and your love. Trust is none thing in the entire book that is seldom powerful. The dark side of life reigns supreme. But that is the true face of any city. A city is never the view that you get from a cocooned shelter from your twenty and more storey house. It has its orphans, its ever sacrificing parents, its dual characters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Life is also that of a slum dog- and the thin ray could be the death of the chanced benefactor termed a criminal about to the dragged in front of the firing squads.
Yes, I liked the idea of clubbing together three tales. Because for a person like me, it is difficult to sit with long novels any more. I wonder how my daughter is able to finish up 200 + pages in a couple of hours. I like the idea of short stories; they are like fresh air breathed into the room. Novellas are good enough to tempt me into reading novels again. And though, still shuddering from the aftereffects of those powerful stories, I would say- “Do write some more Piyush”.


  1. Very well written review --wish the author had spoken about an incident or a dialogue which interested her --in the book! may there be more power in her pen so that her slight inhibition vanishes into thin air!

  2. Seems like she was blown out totally

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