Harish Rajamani's Reviews > Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

Maximum City by Suketu Mehta
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's review
Jan 25, 11

really liked it
Read in January, 2011

As someone who grew up in Bombay (yes, I left about 7 years ago, so I'm still able to resist calling it Mumbai) I should say that I did not identify with everything in this book, but the essence of it appealed to me, I think. While I felt that the book looked at the city with (what seemed intentionally) a foreign eye, I would say to its credit that this did not hinder my ability to identify with the book, as much as my own ignorance of the many layers of Bombay, growing up as a kid.
I've always felt that children in urban Bombay (the ones with food in their mouths and roofs over their heads) are staunchly protected from the realities of urban life. In stark comparison with my other cousins growing up in other metros, I was always the innocent one, unaware of the kinds of things about adult life that you might wonder how teenagers and adolescents end up getting wind of. Now that I think about it, it might even be a defense mechanism for parents in the city to bring up their children in the microcosms that they think they deserve.
So yes, in many ways, this book was a learning experience. After all, irrespective of how unhealthy it might prove to be, if you lay your claim over a city like us Bombayites (or Mumbaikars, if you're not old school like me) do, you would want to know all the gory details about everything that happens there, wouldn't you?
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