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Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

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Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Personal Geography

There will soon be more people living in the city of Bombay than on the continent of Australia. Urbs Prima in Indis reads the plaque outside the Gateway of India. It is also the Urbs Prima in Mundis, at least in one area, the first test of the vitality of a city: the number of people living in it. With 14 million people, Bombay is the biggest city on the planet of a race of city dwellers. Bombay is the future of urban civilization on the planet. God help us.

I left Bombay in 1977 and came back twenty-one years later, when it had grown up to become Mumbai. Twenty-one years: enough time for a human being to be born, get an education, be eligible to drink, get married, drive, vote, go to war, and kill a man. In all that time, I hadn't lost my accent. I speak like a Bombay boy; it is how I am identified in Kanpur and Kansas. Where're you from? Searching for an answer-in Paris, in London, in Manhattan—I always fall back on “Bombay.” Somewhere, buried beneath the wreck of its current condition-one of urban catastrophe—is the city that has a tight claim on my heart, a beautiful city by the sea, an island-state of hope in a very old country. I went back to look for that city with a simple question: Can you go home again? In the looking, I found the cities within me.

I am a city boy. I was born in a city in extremis, Calcutta. Then I moved to Bombay and lived there nine years. Then to New York, eight years in Jackson Heights. A year, on and off, in Paris. Five years in the East Village. Scattered over time, another year or so in London. The only exceptions were three years in Iowa City, not a city at all, and a couple more in New Brunswick, New Jersey, college towns that prepared me for a return to the city. My two sons were born in a great city, New York. I live in cities by choice, and I'm pretty sure I will die in a city. I don’t know what to do in the country, though I like it well enough on weekends.

I come from a family of mercantile wanderers. My paternal grandfather left rural Gujarat for Calcutta in the salad days of the century, to join his brother in the jewelry business. When my grandfather's brother first ventured into international territory, to Japan, in the 1930s, he had to come back and bow in apology before the caste elders, turban in his hands. But his nephews-my father and my uncle—kept moving, first to Bombay and then across the black water to Antwerp and New York, to add to what was given to them. My maternal grandfather left Gujarat for Kenya as a young man, and he now lives in London. My mother was born in Nairobi, went to college in Bombay, and now lives in New York. In my family, picking up and going to another country to live was never a matter for intense deliberation. You went where your business took you.

Once, with my grandfather, I went back to our ancestral house in Maudha, which used to be a village in Gujarat but is now a town. Sitting in the courtyard of the old house with its massive timbers, my grandfather began introducing us to the new owners, a family of Sarafs, Gujarati moneylenders, for whom Maudha was the big city. And this is my son-in-law, who lives in Nigeria.

“Nigeria,” said the Saraf, nodding.

And this is my grandson, who is from New York.

“New York,” the Saraf repeated, still nodding.

And this is

Synopsis:

A multifaceted portrait of Bombay, India, and its people offers an insider's study of the city, chronicling the everday life of the city and its inhabitants, from the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs to the inner sanctums of India's film industry to the diverse people who come from the villages in search of better life. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.

Synopsis:

A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs; following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse; opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood; and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks.

About the Author

Suketu Mehta is a fiction writer and journalist based in New York. He has won the Whiting Writers Award, the O. Henry Prize, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for his fiction. Mehta’s other work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Granta, Harper’s magazine, Time, Condé Nast Traveler, and The Village Voice, and has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Mehta also cowrote Mission Kashmir, a Bollywood movie.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

PART ONE * POWER

Personal Geography

The Country of the No

Two Currencies

Powertoni

The 1992–93 Riots

Elections 1998

The Saheb

Mumbai

Number Two After Scotland Yard

Ajay Lal: The Blasts and the Gangwar

Encounter

Black-Collar Workers

Mohsin: The D-Company

Satish: The Dal Badlu

Chotta Shakeel: The Don in Exile

PART TWO * PLEASURE

Vadapav Eaters’ City

A City in Heat

Monalisa Dances

Golpitha

Two Lives: Honey/Manoj

New Year’s Eve

Distilleries of Pleasure

Vidhu Vinod Chopra: Mission Kashmir

Mahesh Bhatt’s Wound

The Struggler and the Goddess

Accused: Sanjay Dutt

Dreamworld/Underworld

PART THREE * PASSAGES

Memory Mines

Mayur Mahal Multipurpose

A World of Children

Sone ki Chidiya

Girish: A Tourist in His City

Babbanji: Runaway Poet

Adjust

Good-bye World

A Self in the Crowd

Afterword

Acknowledgments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307574312
Subtitle:
Bombay Lost and Found
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Author:
Mehta, Suketu
Author:
Suketu Mehta
Subject:
Social Science : Sociology - General
Subject:
Travel : Asia - India
Subject:
Asia - India & South Asia
Subject:
Civilization
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Essays & Travelogues
Subject:
Asia - India
Subject:
Description and travel
Subject:
Bombay (india)
Subject:
Travel
Subject:
Bombay (India) Description and travel.
Subject:
Mehta, Suketu - Travel - India - Bombay
Subject:
Anthologies-General
Subject:
Asia-India Modern
Subject:
Travel Writing-General
Subject:
World History - India
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20050927
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
542

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Asia » India » Ancient and General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Travel » Asia » India
Travel » General
Travel » Travel Writing » General

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found
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Product details 542 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780307574312 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A multifaceted portrait of Bombay, India, and its people offers an insider's study of the city, chronicling the everday life of the city and its inhabitants, from the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs to the inner sanctums of India's film industry to the diverse people who come from the villages in search of better life. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.
"Synopsis" by , A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs; following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse; opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood; and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks.
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