This is a jaffer of a novel; absolutely brilliant for a first time author. Loved the way she makes the city a central character in her book, embracing it with all its fears, hopes, prejudices, smells (do read her take on the smell of the sea), its chaos and the constant struggle to find one’s own voice within it. I am not much of a book reviewer, but i must say that this is a novel with poetry all over.
After a very long time, i started taking notes as i read, scribbling lines that i liked in no particular order. Just thought of an experiment; the attempt is to club these lines into paragraphs that hopefully bring out the poetry in her work. If the attempt succeeds, its all credit to her craft; if it fails, its purely on my accord.
So here goes…
a light sleeper at best - mumbai,
Lord Falkland —a blindfolded monkey holding the scales of justice,
new money shouts, old money whispers,
no imagination, no soul
the droning whoosh of the ceiling fan,
otherwise the room empty enough for the sounds of the street to pour in,
the irani cafe was enclosed within brackets of a city,
a part of it but also an island, islands within an island
like a pair of house slippers,
of his body entwined with hers like freshly washed laundry,
questions like fibre to let him spinning yarn,
goosebumps, rising and begging to be touched poetry in braille
hope for happiness,
like naphthalene balls vanishing softly,
a hooded mistrust he was now comfortable uncloaking,
hate shedding its milk teeth
private nicknames and inside jokes, a deep companionship,
another nakedness to get familiar with,
love once earned had to be sustained,
it had to be sheltered from the glare of truth.
some people unwilling to be followers,
even in declarations of love,
the first coat of paint shows,
the crinkled skin over a cup of cooling tea,
just different shades of misery.
this pillar of dust separated them,
an injured muscle which gives trouble from time to time,
no choice, they call this the spirit of Bombay,
like leaving a perfume bottle open to smell it.
you only begin to make sense under the lingering gaze of another,
is romance only allowed when it is used to sell things,
parked cars have pinched the streets,
each beam was a skinny brown atlas holding up the sky.
how should our society be,
brushing of the dust, in order to excavate, what remains,
of our friendship,
refuse that water has obscured, like love does