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Bookworms, Check Out These Six Books Which Show Mumbai In A New Light

Bhavika posted on 09 August


Love reading about Mumbai as much as you love the city itself? Fact in fiction is always more compelling – the traffic congested labyrinthine roads, the narrow rooms, the open-minded people. We picked out a few unique books that go beyond the classic novel form and show us the city in a new, colourful form.

If you still want to stick to pacy novels, here is a list you should add to your collection.

Kari By Amruta Patil

‘Crystal Palace is my chorus. {…} Interesting that my postal address in smog city sounds like a pit stop in a fairy tale.’

One of the strongest, most unapologetic graphic novels we’ve read, Kari was written by author Amruta Patil and is set in the maximum city, Mumbai. As Kari goes through dealing with the loss of love, homosexuality, the grit of the city and even everyday problems such as handling your roommate’s boyfriend, you will find yourself gripped by the story. The illustrations are mostly in charcoal black and white, with hints of collages in the middle.

Buy your copy here.

Humans Of Bombay by Karishma Mehta

If you haven’t spent most of 2013-14 scrolling one ‘Humans of New York’ post on Facebook after the one, shedding a silent tear of muffling with laughter over these strangers’ stories, what have you even done?
Brandon Stanton who created this popular blog and then book inspired many other such pages across the world. Karishma Mehta from Mumbai too took up the project with vivid tenacity and called it the ‘Humans of Bombay’. This bright and beautiful portrayal of Bombay’s people was published as a book in 2016 and is a book to add to your collection.

Buy it here.

I Take This Train Too By Cyrus Daruwala

Between the pages of the these white hardbound covers, Cyrus Daruwala has created an utterly truthful and funny book which will make you stop dead in your tracks. He has profiled, illustrated and given personality archetypes to the many commuters we come across on our train journeys every day.

This could be the carrot peeling lady, the admonishing, disapproving eyes of the neighbourhood aunty or the elitist man whose key talent is ‘staying aloof’, whose eyes tell us that the day his stocks and shares recover, he won’t be in this stinky compartment and ‘we’ll all see’.

This was a crowdfunded book, and there are only a few copies available online and at the Filter Shop.

Buy it here.

Storycity Mumbai

The next time you’re out and about in the city, turn off the google maps and take out Storycity Mumbai. This illustrated and hand-drawn map of Mumbai takes us through 24 stories and anecdotes, routing bus routes to not the usual spots to more unexplored parts of Mumbai, reminding us to fall in love with the city.

We’ve written more about it here.

You can buy it at the museum of Bhau Daji Lad Museum or at the Filter Shop in Fort.

Mumbai Confidential by Saurav Mohapatra and Vivek Shinde

A crime-thriller set in Mumbai’s unsettled underbelly, Mumbai Confidential explores the story of police officer Arjun Kadam who is solving the murder of a street urchin. Did we mention? This is in comic form, and the first volume is called ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’.

Buy it here.

Bombay Hectic

Want more on the go? Bombay Hectic is a graphic novel fleshed out wholly on Aazar Anis’ smartphone, clicked, edited, et al. This story is available on his Facebook page, with each ingenious chapter presented as a different photo album. Read it on your train journey here.


You will also enjoy ‘Alice in Bhuleshwar’ – a history of Mumbai’s chaotic SoBo neighbourhood through a walk and even ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves Reloaded’ which is a Mumbai version of the classic childhood story, twisting through Mumbai’s streets and criminal undergrounds.