I was in town today, and brought Shama Futehally’s “Reaching Bombay Central“. While I brought it simply because its by Futehally, two other reasons also promted me.
Reason One: It mentions the word “Bombay”. I have begun treasuring “Bombay” ever since the facist and reactionary goons started targetting the name. It makes me happy to see the word ‘Bombay’ written on a pamphlet, a board, a hoarding or a book.
Reason two: This book is set on a train.
Its amazing how a good author can convert a ‘regular’ train journey into a transcendental experience. 🙂 Her minute observations of people, trains, railways, women passagers, chaiwallahs, and “conversational bad luck”are brilliant at places.
I wonder if I can post a small paragraph she wrote on train sweepers. I’ll stick to under 20 lines, and hope am not infringing any copyrights. But I have to share this.
“when he finally tucks his jhadoo under his rump and holds out a hand, it is your duty to find a coin for it.If the hand remains open after a coin has been placed on it, it is your job either to enter into an appropriate argument or to lose face and produce another coin. And when all this has to be done by half a dozen people seated in the same compartment together there are problems.”
excerpted from Shama Futehally’s
Reaching Bombay Central. (Penguin/ 2002)
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