Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan

Navadha Pandey | Updated on June 29, 2012


There is something magical about Mumbai. Over decades, many people have tried to capture the spirit of the city through Bollywood movies, Hindi songs, documentaries and books.

So, what started out as a college project for three 22-year-olds — Priya Sheth, Digantika Mitra and Mithila Mehta — is now a 100-page, pocket-sized tribute to their city’s local flavour.

The book, Cutting Chai and Maska Pao, is about all things Mumbai. From rokda to tapori, Gateway to Oval Maidan and Bollywood to Dalal Street, it is a collection of words and phrases that originated from and are used in this pulsating metropolis.

The appetising pictures taken by the authors accompany the words described in the book and capture the essence of the city.

Each page unravels one tiny aspect that makes Mumbai. Written in simple, clear English, the book can be read at a pace the city is known for.

It is a take on daily life in the city of dreams. Catching the local, stopping at the boot-polishwallah’s or polishing off a vada pav after a run in the Joggers’ Park. Whether it is shopping at Fashion Street or eating at an Irani café or cuddling up with your girlfriend at Lover’s Rocks, the book will make you relive all your true Mumbaikar moments. For those not from the city, it is a perfect guide to understand the nuts and bolts of this mayanagri or the land of illusion.

The city’s famous Mewad Kulfi comes across as the authors’ favourite as the book points out “They say you can’t buy happiness — bet they haven’t eaten a Mewad Kulfi.”

The book also touches upon the issue of the slow decline in the number of the low-budget Irani cafes in the city.

So does the book do justice as a tribute to Mumbai?

Well, it comes across as an interesting coffee table book that holds the key to the city. As the authors put it— These are the words that the city simply cannot do without.

The city made the words, but now the words make the city.

As you turn over the last page, the book makes you realise… Aila, aamchi Mumbai is truly dhinchak.

So, if you are planning to go on a holiday to Mumbai, do remember to keep it in your satchel, because there are some things that only Mumbaiyya language can fix.

Published on June 29, 2012

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