Mumbai, my city. My city that never sleeps. It is always running. We are always running. We are dreamers here. I always tell this to my friends who have come to Mumbai from different cities. It’s a city which may suit you may not suit you but if it embraces you then there’s nothing like, you have been touched by King Midas! So it is understandable that I am going to read books that are based in my city and obviously I will love them too.

Over the years I have read tons of books set in my city. And here’s a rundown for you all.

1. Once was Bombay by Pinky Virani – I picked this one after reading Virani’s Aruna’s story. Aruna’s story was a moving tale about a nurse who was raped in a hospital by a wardboy. I was acquainted and in love with Virani’s writing and so picked up this one as soon as I laid my eyes on it. The descriptions are so beautiful that I had some pages scanned so that I could revisit them.

2. Black friday by S. Hussain Zaidi – My first book by Zaidi. I was 3 during the riots and the subsequent blasts that shook my city. I had heard much about the Black friday but I got a lot closer to it when I read this book. And I have still not seen the movie. 🙈

3. Dongri to Dubai by S. Hussain Zaidi – Black friday sparked a curiousity in me which is still kindling in me. The curiousity to know about the notorious gangs and gangsters of Mumbai. If I talk about my life, I have met with death and kidnapping threats from gangsters just because my father held a strategic position in labour politics. And so the curiousity for a subject like this is never going to die.

4. Mafia queen by S. Hussain Zaidi – Behind a successful man is a headstrong woman. Behind every gangsters success there were their lady loves. This book does an exceptional job of bringing that side in front of us.

Amrita Mahale signing my copy. Location – Aroma Cafe, Bandra

5. Milk Teeth by Amrita Mahale – This book was sheer nostalgia. It shows how Bombay was a milk teeth that the city was shedding and growing a thicker skin with middle class ruling the roost when it became Mumbai. A must read in my view.

6. Train to Bombay by Jaina Sanga – These are short stories based in Mumbai and these were like nostalgia shots for me.

7. Maximum city by Suketu Mehta – Picked it up when I was in college. Mostly shows you the dark side of Mumbai. I didn’t like it much because of that but I wish to revisit it soon just so that I can have a change of opinions.

8. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – I devoured this tome. I never realized how and when this story of a foreigner living in the shanties of Mumbai gripped me. It is philosophical as well which makes it all the more lovable for me. Don’t ever miss out on this one if you plan to read about Mumbai. I could kiss this author for the way he narrates his story. The flashes from this book still come back as I write about this now.

9. Zero dial by J. Dey – A crime and investigation journalist who was killed in broad day light. What he left behind are 2 amazing books and I happen to read this one. After finishing this one I walked up to my uncle who was in Mumbai Police and served various departments like extortion, to ask more about the Zero Dials. Now what are zero dials? Read this book to know.

I have this thing that I don’t recommend books which I haven’t read. That’s why, despite the fact that many books by renowned authors are based on Mumbai, I haven’t recommended those in this post.

There is so much written about my city that one lifetime isn’t enough to gobble all of it.

Anyho, if you happen to read any of these books let me know. Also, do drop in your recommendations in comments or Instagram DMs.

Happy Reading


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