A City Happens in Love – By Ravish Kumar (Translated from Hindi by Akhil Katyal) (Flash Fiction / Short Stories )
Published by: Speaking Tiger Publications, Price : INR 250/-
Book Review by Anjana Basu
A City Happens in Love is the English version of political journalist Ravish Kumar’s Hindi Ishq Mein Shahar Hona translated by Delhi based poet Akhil Katyal. Unlike lovers abroad Indian lovers have very few places to meet in – the back seats of taxis or autos with the driver peering lasciviously through the rear view mirror, dark corners in parks where they hold hands hoping no one will see them or city neighbourhoods far from their homes where no ‘khaps’ – as Kumar refers to them – will spy.
Through love which sharpens the senses, Kumar pays tribute to the modern Indian city and its infinite variety of spaces – mainly Delhi but with sudden touches of Kolkata where Kumar’s wife comes from. The snippets inhabit the love, longing and heartbreak which flourish in the city’s spaces. Love and space grow on each other and shape the relationships, though gradually the narrative becomes increasingly political, even involving Michelle and Obama and the relationships splinter.
Ultimately the pieces are nocturnes or mood boards using the city as a mirror to reflect the transitions in relationships while addresses are those which carry the name of the beloved because the loved one is the only refuge. The illustrations counterpoint the narrative with quaintness and nostalgia.
About the reviewer:
Anjana Basu is a renowned novelist, poet, reviewer and travel writer.