20 February 2006

Halfway through

Suketu Mehta is a true believer in New Journalism. Draws vivid pictures, reports
conversation verbatim, and no comments whatsoever. Not apolitical though. Strong
stands on the Rent Act, Bal Thackeray, and the daily torture of living in Bombay.

As a friend said, Suketu is one of the few Indian (or non-resident Indian) writers in
English who have successfully translated Indian colloquial into English. No mean task
that. It's something most Indian journalists fail at. Try translating what you hear on the
bus while holding on to the flavour.

Most of what Suketu writes about Bombay is, of course, true of the larger picture -- India.
But then, that's natural. How else do we know India, if not through our streets and cities?
How else do we know the world for that matter? K V Subbanna, in his essay 'My
Kannada World', says that the world for each of us is just what we encounter in our
personal lives. Most of often, when we refer to the 'whole world', we do not refer to all
the people and all the countries in the world. It's just the persons and places you know,
have heard of, have read about, or seen on TV that form 'your' world.

Hitch a ride to the Maximum City. It's a rare journey.

06 February 2006

Maximum City

Last summer a friend of mine was reading Maximum City by Suketu Mehta. I picked it up and flipped through. Something about Bollywood caught my eye. I sat down to read some more, and more. It is one of the few reent books that as we say in Kannada, "odisikondu hoguttade". That is, it takes you by the hand and runs at top speed.

I couldnt finish the book then: my friend was half-way through and wouldnt let go. But it has me now.

More later.