Sunday, 22 September 2019

Book review of Milk Teeth by Amrita Mahale

"Bombay" isn't a word but an emotion. An emotion which is a keepsake of all the years passed by and of its transference to "Mumbai". While for some the city remains the same, there is always an ongoing debate, a series of questions mulled over its ironic changing and constant stance. We all reminisce our growing up in 90’s very fondly and why not, it was the era which brought with itself a newness. Primarily the new economy, internet boom and chat room craze. Mahale’s Milk teeth will make you rekindle those times while allowing you to see and wonder over the shifting paradigms the city of Bombay has gone through. The blurry space when it transpired from being Bombay to the Mumbai we know now is evocatively described in these bound pages.

We follow the life of Ira and Kartik in their building Asha Nivas, Matunga. A close knit neighbourhood, a building which is to go into redevelopment and the residents weighing their chances when it does. Their childhood is like a fond memory and peek into our’s. Ira is a journalist with civic beat and her story gives way to Kaiz, a very interesting character who sways in and out of the plot. His vision about the city of Bombay form the most impressive parts to read. And then there is Kartik, struggling with a job he is pinned by but also dreaming about a fancy life in Mumbai.

Revolving around dextrously crafted characters is a story which pulls you in with contemplating conversations, heartfelt and forbidden love, nostalgia and a vibe of warmth which encompasses it all. The analogous writing ties it all together. Mahale’s words flow with a sense of assurance, only making you delve deeper in the book.

The book brings to life the essence of Bombay; tea at Irani cafe’s, stroll on Juhu beach, lanes of Colaba, never ending BMC grumbles, a quintessential middle class family life and memories of bygone events such as the Babri Masjid. Merging societal taboo topics with references, historic and prevalent, the author brings to light a view of the city which has withered it all, always developing and always letting the inhabitants dream.

Milk teeth proves to be satiating. Every wave of word, an insight, a marvel.

My rating:

The book has been longlisted for JCB prize 2019 and the love that the book has been gaining in such short duration is proof of it securing a position in the shortlist as well. I can bet all my money to see this one make it through.


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