Bombay Time

The Parsi residents of Wadia Baug, an apartment building examine their bonds with each other as well as their love-hate relationship with the city of their birth. Parsis are a small ethnic minority, whose relative affluence and Western orientation makes them stand out in a city of mass poverty.

Now the son of Jimmy Kanga, the resident success, is getting married and all the neighbors are invited. As each of the guest’s disparate, poignant stories unfold we follow the slow dissolution of Rusi and Coomi Bilimoria’s marriage, the fatal betrayal suffered by Rusi’s friend, Soli Contractor, the rise of Jimmy Kanga, and the sad case of the reclusive Tehmi Engineer. Above all, the novel gives us a sense of how this close knit Parsi community copes with individual struggles through humor, hope and courage. Umrigar dramatizes missed chances, lost opportunities, the disappointments of these ageing Parsi parents. A brilliant character study.

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6 Responses to “Bombay Time”

  1. I think Parsis are caricatured a bit in movies and books. An insight from someone within should be worth reading.

  2. Thanks so much for this review. Not too long ago I read “The Space Between Us” and was so impressed I went hunting for Ms. Umrigar’s other novels and came across “Bombay Time” which I haven’t got around to reading yet, but your review sure makes me want to!

  3. @Parth: come to think of it, caricature runs amok in the movies, nai? not only Parsis, but south Indians, Gujratis, ghaatis, dehatis and every other ethnic minority, the overweight, the too-lanky, the short and the tall, the well-endowed and the flat and the gays – everyone is caricatured with total equality and without discrimination. it’s like Avi says, “the ramanand sagar college of bad cinema”, har har.

    umrigar is okay to read, the book is worth a look, but seriously, DO NOT tell me that you haven’t read that other Parsi gentleman, the brightest supernova ever to explode on the firmament of world fiction, Rohinton Mistry? *gasp* Please to remove yourself from your blog, job, LIFE and sally forth to quiet nook with A Fine Balance tucked under your arm, and various infusions to keep sleep at bay. Go, go, go.

  4. @Lotus: this is the only one i’ve read by the author so far, sadly. it’s very amusing, but my friend had recommended Nre York Time to me, and i actually was looking for that on the shelves by author THIRTY Umrigar! 🙂 it’s just such an unusual name.
    i’d heard that The Space Between Us is not as impressive as her other stuff, but am glad to have a better-informed person tell me that’s not the case, so i shall be looking out for it. thanks, Lotus.

  5. LOL@ ‘Thirty’ Umrigar, but you’re right, it is a very unusual name. Don’t know if I can call myself better-informed , but I will say that although the author has been accused of using every Indian stereotype in the book, I enjoyed ‘The Space Between Us’ a whole lot, however, I can’t compare it with any of her other books as “Space b/w Us” is the only one of hers I’ve read.

    OK, now time for me to show a little ignorance – what’s a dehati??? And I just love how much you adore Mr. Mistry, and rightly so, he deserves the adulation of anyone with even the remotest interest in books.

  6. @Lotus: dehati, my love – same as ghaati, i guess. et tu, eh? we can get a rohinton mistry fan club going. 😉

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