02 March, 2021

Page 3, Page 368

A meditation on the pains of love and a city's impress on it also glimpses into the leprous core of Indian polity

Page 3, Page 368
Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi’s The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay is about love, longing and the ache at the heart of desire. Shanghvi slides love under the microscope and dissects it with a doctor’s eye. Running and romance seem to go together. We run from ourselves to the arms of those we love only to find these arms are shackles. And so we run again.

This novel is about the English-speaking upper middle class where characters drink Bellinis, watch Naseeruddin Shah films, buy Billie Holiday records from Rhythm House and watch Urdu plays. Their cars’ backseats are strewn with copies of ArtIndia and Tehelka. Lovers talk in a mix of Americanese and Hinglish: "You’re a real trooper, you know." "I’ve got the skin of a rhino, jaan." This is Shobha De for the thinking man.

Rhea and Adiare are a corporate couple desperate for a child. Adi attends business meetings in foreign cities, listens to the saxophone, drinks bourbon. Rhea dabbles in pottery, bakes cakes for him. Samar is a pianist who spurned the limelight at...

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