The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay

Disclaimer: This is not a review. Google for a book review that would help you decide whether or not you should buy this book. Or maybe just buy it.

Here’s the blurb on the back cover to help you make your decision.

Star photographer Karan Seth is in Bombay to immortalize the city in a unique photo-record of its hidden faces until tragedy strikes and he is drawn into a Fitzgeraldian world of sex, crime and politics. Utterly disenchanted, he abandons the camera and Bombay and heads to England. Yet, like the flamingoes of Sewri, who unfailingly give in to the strange, haunting pull of the great metropolis, Karan too knows that he must return to his old loves. The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay is at once a razor-sharp depiction of contemporary urban society and an affecting tale about love’s betrayals and the redemptive powers of friendship.

I have been writing for ten years now and I have sold a few copies over the years. But I still don’t call myself an artist. I just can’t. The word sounds pretentious to me years, no thanks to my upbringing. Writer. Painter. Actor. Those are labels I can understand. CA? Engineer? Doctor? Even better. The second someone says artist I’m thinking white paneled French windows, worn down desks, creaky wooden flooring, a typewriter, a skinny woman/man, cereal but no milk, no families to take care of, and general disregard towards paying bills. Because of course, so much natural light.

This book has a lot of artists and for its worth, they do sound like artists – sharp, intelligent, witty, sufficiently nonchalant. They are also photographers, potters, pianists, and writers. Wow, such a world exists, was my first thought, this caustic, sometimes I care but it’s sort of complicated like it always is, strange, irritating, super mean, high-school type but with adults, world. Of course it does, was my second thought. I have been on the fringes of it. And as an outsider to this entire writing-literature-publishing-business, I have always sort of looked at them with amusement while still desiring to be a part of them. I just want to look like them I think. Thin, sufficiently intelligent, proper, seductive but not like always. Maybe once a week. The book gave a voice to the scenes I have witnessed but haven’t been close enough to eavesdrop. None of the main characters in the books have parents – died, estranged etc. but mostly dead – which automatically give the characters boundless autonomy over their futures. Which always irritates me in a book.

But finished the book in a few hours, so yeah. That was that.

P.S. – Typed on my phone. Excuse the brevity.



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