The Bombay Bhel by Ken Doyle is one of those books which the readers would like to savour . As the name suggests , the book is a smooth blend of short fictions containing myriad flavours. “Bhel” or ‘Bhelpuri’ is a street-food which is almost unanimous with the city of Bombay or Mumbai , and Ken has delineated his stories in the most realistic manner with Bombay as the backdrop. The stories feature the Goan culture as well as the Angolo-Indian communities and even the tales of a street-vendor or a schoolboy have been portrayed in a manner that the reader can feel the throbbing of the city .
Bombay is a cosmopolitan city where people from different parts of India flock together to make a livelihood. Ken Doyle has caught the essence of the city as it was in the late twentieth century , the interlinked stories represents the actual condition of a society in which we have super-rich people on one end and drudgery on the other. The glitz and glamour of Bombay ( Bolloywood) often successfully suppress the actual condition of the middle-class people , trying hard every day to make both ends meet . This is possibly the most wonderful city in the world which offers a peaceful co-existence of failure and success , glamour and grimace ; and the author has presented the scenario in the most realistic manner.
The book also throws an unique glimpse into the history of Bombay through the eyes of its dwellers and its gradual shifting towards the anti-colonial Mumbai. The potpourri of emotions of common people, from a schoolboy to a grandmother living alone, has come alive with Doyle’s magic touch. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories and anecdotes which has made the city of Mumbai tangible to me .
I really fell in love with the author’s cinéma vérité style of writing , an unique style where everyday actions and naturalness of dialogues are maintained in the truest form.
The book , though a self-published one , has all the marks of great professionalism and I surmise that Doyle’s next work should come from a renowned publisher. He is one of the most promising among the Indie authors . I would like to recommend this book to everyone who enjoys good story-telling .
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