counter create hit City Adrift : A Short Biography of Bombay - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

City Adrift : A Short Biography of Bombay

Availability: Ready to download

For hundreds of years Bombay held India in thrall. A metropolis, reclaimed from ocean and iniquity, it effortlessly manufactured the dreams that captivated a nation and drew fortune seekers to it by the million. Once a princesss dowry, these seven conjoined islands were settled over time by the most diverse collection of people the Indian subcontinent has ever known, they For hundreds of years Bombay held India in thrall. A metropolis, reclaimed from ocean and iniquity, it effortlessly manufactured the dreams that captivated a nation and drew fortune seekers to it by the million. Once a princesss dowry, these seven conjoined islands were settled over time by the most diverse collection of people the Indian subcontinent has ever known, they proceeded to create a mishmash culture that perfectly reflected their heterogeneity and gave the city its unique verve. No longer. For some time now, Bombays charms have been wearing thin, other cities have become more alluring and disastrous new trends such as its re-islanding into luxury ghettos, could spell its final descent into chaos and terminal decay. In this arresting new biography, award winning writer and journalist, Naresh Fernandes, writes with a mixture of passion, exasperation, poignancy, empathy and great elegance about his beloved Bombay giving us a very deep understanding and appreciation of one of the worlds most iconic cities.


Compare
Ads Banner

For hundreds of years Bombay held India in thrall. A metropolis, reclaimed from ocean and iniquity, it effortlessly manufactured the dreams that captivated a nation and drew fortune seekers to it by the million. Once a princesss dowry, these seven conjoined islands were settled over time by the most diverse collection of people the Indian subcontinent has ever known, they For hundreds of years Bombay held India in thrall. A metropolis, reclaimed from ocean and iniquity, it effortlessly manufactured the dreams that captivated a nation and drew fortune seekers to it by the million. Once a princesss dowry, these seven conjoined islands were settled over time by the most diverse collection of people the Indian subcontinent has ever known, they proceeded to create a mishmash culture that perfectly reflected their heterogeneity and gave the city its unique verve. No longer. For some time now, Bombays charms have been wearing thin, other cities have become more alluring and disastrous new trends such as its re-islanding into luxury ghettos, could spell its final descent into chaos and terminal decay. In this arresting new biography, award winning writer and journalist, Naresh Fernandes, writes with a mixture of passion, exasperation, poignancy, empathy and great elegance about his beloved Bombay giving us a very deep understanding and appreciation of one of the worlds most iconic cities.

30 review for City Adrift : A Short Biography of Bombay

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kartik

    This short biography on my favorite city in India is brief, but it's filled with content. And stories. Of eras long gone. It takes you on a trip through the city's history, right from its ancient Buddhist monuments, to its Portuguese settlements, to its handover as a part of a queen's dowry, to its establishment as a port of the East India Company, to its growth into India's first truly cosmopolitan metropolis, and beyond. It then covers multiple facets of the city's incredibly diverse and cosmopo This short biography on my favorite city in India is brief, but it's filled with content. And stories. Of eras long gone. It takes you on a trip through the city's history, right from its ancient Buddhist monuments, to its Portuguese settlements, to its handover as a part of a queen's dowry, to its establishment as a port of the East India Company, to its growth into India's first truly cosmopolitan metropolis, and beyond. It then covers multiple facets of the city's incredibly diverse and cosmopolitan demographics, and its troubled modern history - with a nuanced look at housing segregation, unchecked development, mistreatment of its inhabitants, and its growing social disparity. "Bombay doesn't house its workers, it warehouses them," quotes Fernandes, as he traces the history of the mills and the labor movements, market forces, and politics behind their closure, and how the Shiv Sena rose to prominence against this backdrop. Fernandes' love for the city and his despair for the way it treats its working class and poor make the book all the more emotional. Each chapter, in addition to telling a story, provides ample historical context, with stats, ordinances, and official urban records quoted - providing a context rich background that helps you appreciate the narrative more. Facts and storytelling blend to provide a take on Mumbai that is opinionated and fact based, something that makes the book powerful despite its length. Fernandes states facts about Mumbai that many of the city's inhabitants are ignorant of, sometimes even willfully, and he goes on to show how they are relevant and what caused that state of affairs in the first place. (Like with housing, poverty, and ghettoization). He also addresses the problems with buying into the "Spirit of Mumbai" attitude that makes people forget to demand more from the system around them. (Some of the stats Fernandes quotes have still stayed with me, they're just too eye opening to conveniently ignore.) Well researched and well written, this book is a great short read for anyone interested in the urban history of India.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ashish

    A lovely little book which serves as a biography for the crazy city I call my home now. The best part about the book is that it does away with all the grand-standing and romanticisation of the city which is apparent in a lot of books about Bombay. Nor is it a view of the gritty and seedy underbelly of the city focussing on slums and the underworld alone. The book is a very real look at the city, with the first part addressing the past and the more critical second part scrutinising the present wi A lovely little book which serves as a biography for the crazy city I call my home now. The best part about the book is that it does away with all the grand-standing and romanticisation of the city which is apparent in a lot of books about Bombay. Nor is it a view of the gritty and seedy underbelly of the city focussing on slums and the underworld alone. The book is a very real look at the city, with the first part addressing the past and the more critical second part scrutinising the present with a grim outlook at the future. I really liked the details that the author goes into as he talks about the British-portuguese past of the city and the overlooked and forgotten tokens of remembrance that era has left in the way of artifacts. The book will make you want to go exploring, looking for them in the congested by-lanes of the city. Perhaps the most important achievement of the author is how well he manages to capture the nerve of the city and its people. His frustrations and helplessness resonates very close to what the common folks feel; the author being a native himself, manages to put it across in a nuanced way, using well researched facts to back his claims. Full marks for calling out the "Spirit of Bombay" and how it is used to trivalise and overlook the recurrent problems that every Mumbaikar faces, problems which are a result of years of apathy, corruption, mismanagement, politics and greed. It's a book that is super relevant now as it is in the wake of any tragedy that the people of the city face, which seems to have become a routine affair and is increasingly being taken for granted. I would love to read more of what he has to write, his PoV of the city is refreshing and worth a read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Udit Nair

    When it comes to Mumbai its bound to invoke special feelings for people who have lived there even for a brief period of time. Now the book is divided into two major parts. The first part deals with the history of the city. The short essay deals with indigenous history, colonial administration and then to the current phase. The second part is mostly about the changing nature of Bombay. The author showcases resentment towards the planning which went into building of the modern city. Some of the in When it comes to Mumbai its bound to invoke special feelings for people who have lived there even for a brief period of time. Now the book is divided into two major parts. The first part deals with the history of the city. The short essay deals with indigenous history, colonial administration and then to the current phase. The second part is mostly about the changing nature of Bombay. The author showcases resentment towards the planning which went into building of the modern city. Some of the interesting chapters were Gandhi and Bombay, extensive discussion on shiv sena's role and riots which were witnessed. As a whole it's a short read but it is worth it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Geetanjali

    "Bombay is a great city and a terrible place." Naresh Fernandes quotes architect and planner Charles Correa towards the end of his book, and Correa's words also in a way a summarize Fernandes' book and ode to a city that he definitely loves so much. City Adrift is such a lovely little book. It was always going to be special book for me. Firstly, it was gifted by a very dear friend. A friend with whom I've had countless conversations on cities in general, and Bombay in particular, ranging from pa "Bombay is a great city and a terrible place." Naresh Fernandes quotes architect and planner Charles Correa towards the end of his book, and Correa's words also in a way a summarize Fernandes' book and ode to a city that he definitely loves so much. City Adrift is such a lovely little book. It was always going to be special book for me. Firstly, it was gifted by a very dear friend. A friend with whom I've had countless conversations on cities in general, and Bombay in particular, ranging from parks and open spaces to public transport and sewage systems; right from the time we were 18, when we both knew little about life or urban theory. Secondly, the book is about cities, a subject I hope one day to have more than an amateur understanding and mastery over. Lastly because the book is about Bombay, a city that will always be home no matter where I live. The book is such a wondrous treat for anyone wanting to know of the Bombay of yore and the city that it has metamorphosed into today. In the course of the two afternoons that I devoured the book, I happily roamed the streets of the city in my head, and it did manage to quell some of my longing for home. At times I walked through suburbs I traveled to frequently and infrequently as a student and as a journalist. At other times I found myself strolling around in sections of the city that I've never once set foot on (like the site of the cemetery on Antop Hill since 1870s for minority communities like Armenians, Chinese, Baha'is, Prarthana Samajists, and Jews). Sitting (and oftentimes sprawled on the sofa or bed) some 10,000 miles away, the book made me feel like I was back home in way that few other things have done in the last five years. The sense of being home that it gave me was far more visceral, a lot less sliver-of-the-imagination like. In one swooping arc over 150-odd pages Fernandes walks you through Bombay in the times of Buddhist monks to Bombay in the times of Bal Thackeray. And while doing so he also manages to keep the book immensely readable (I read it like a page-turner). He doesn't compromise on information, and nor does he miss out on tackling any of the important aspects of the city. He makes a mere fleeting mention of the city's Bollywood ties, but I'm not going to complain about it. Some of what's in the book I already know, like much of the reclamation was done using stone from the hills in Kandivali. But a lot of the book was about connecting scattered bits of information I've picked up on the city as I grew up in it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Vikas Mehra

    Interesting book that displays the meticulous research done by the author in trying to pen "a short biography of Bombay". He chooses to call the city by its older name - Bombay - and that is indicative of his thoughts and inclinations on the city and how it is evolving. There's snippets of trivia and interesting factoids, but overall, the big theme that the author takes forward is that Mumbai has never been subjected to "planned development" and probably never will be. And that is a constant lam Interesting book that displays the meticulous research done by the author in trying to pen "a short biography of Bombay". He chooses to call the city by its older name - Bombay - and that is indicative of his thoughts and inclinations on the city and how it is evolving. There's snippets of trivia and interesting factoids, but overall, the big theme that the author takes forward is that Mumbai has never been subjected to "planned development" and probably never will be. And that is a constant lament through the book. I felt he could have written some more about the Parsee community in Bombay and their contributions to its development, or when discussing socio-economic shifts, the unique Baugs that the Parsees created for themselves to house their kin. But then, its a short biography. So, what we read is what we get.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sukanto

    Passionate without being preachy - if I were to sum this book up in just a phrase. Having said that, this is one of the nicest little accounts of one of my favourite cities in India. Having travelled there on quite a few occasions and made some of my best friends, I found it easy to relate to the nuances of Bombay that Naresh Fernandes talks about. With crisp narration and sharp facts, City Adrift gives readers like me a wonderful insight into why Bombay is what it is, and why what it could be i Passionate without being preachy - if I were to sum this book up in just a phrase. Having said that, this is one of the nicest little accounts of one of my favourite cities in India. Having travelled there on quite a few occasions and made some of my best friends, I found it easy to relate to the nuances of Bombay that Naresh Fernandes talks about. With crisp narration and sharp facts, City Adrift gives readers like me a wonderful insight into why Bombay is what it is, and why what it could be in the years to come. With witty takes on concepts like 'Spirit of Bombay', Fernandes talks to us about an a behemoth that is an enigma and all too explicit at the same time. Again, one of my best reads this year indeed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shubham Shetty

    3.5 stars Shortly after the blasts, it ran a short segment titled ‘A Tribute to the Spirit of Bombay’. It was deeply moving; friends told me that the programme made them weep. Since then, however, Bombay’s indomitable will has been hailed by its politicians and socialites with such regularity, it has become obvious that they’ve used this resilience as an excuse to absolve themselves of the need to take the difficult decisions necessary to actually make the city more liveable. The incessant invoca 3.5 stars Shortly after the blasts, it ran a short segment titled ‘A Tribute to the Spirit of Bombay’. It was deeply moving; friends told me that the programme made them weep. Since then, however, Bombay’s indomitable will has been hailed by its politicians and socialites with such regularity, it has become obvious that they’ve used this resilience as an excuse to absolve themselves of the need to take the difficult decisions necessary to actually make the city more liveable. The incessant invocation of Bombay’s spirit is just an attempt to ignore the numbing of another little bit of its soul. Real estate developers—many of whom had taken to describing themselves as ‘infrastructure firms’, as if this affords them a higher sense of purpose than mere land-sharking—are making too much money to even pretend to be bothered by the damage their projects are inflicting on the urban fabric. Anticipating these disasters should be the responsibility of the bureaucrats and politicians who are framing the rules. But they didn’t seem to devote much thought to this either. Perhaps it’s because, as a series of exposés have demonstrated, many of the administrators who are framing the regulations and the politicians who are approving them have stakes in real estate firms. If this seems to constitute a conflict of interest, no one is unduly bothered. These two quotes, for me, sum up the source of all of Mumbai's problems - no one cares. In a city where everyone is busy surviving and the only thing with a voice is money, there is no room for sentimentality. In a city constantly on the move, there is no time for due process or auditing. As a second-generation Mumbaikar who has only lived in the city flittingly, but has been able to view it throughout the years from a distance, I can understand Naresh Fernandes' pain at the idea of his city Bombay being stripped down and sold to the highest bidder, while the Apathy of Mumbai, so often called the Spirit of Mumbai, only stands by and watches. I liked the author's anecdotal recounting of the city's history and how it developed from a small group of fishing villages and islands to the bustling megapolis it is today. At around 170 pages, it was a swift read - however, I wish it was longer and more thorough. I would have loved to see the author take a deeper dive into the city's past, with better research and referencing, which seemed to be missing in this short biography.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Harini Dedhia

    This review might be biased for it is the story of the city I love. A narrative that reminds me of the movie Man from Earth- but just on the 'beautiful city yet horrible place' of Bombay. The author's story of the city is short, crisp and fluid. The pre-Independence part 1 of the book makes you want to go re-discover your city now armed with the remarkable narratives of some areas. None of the weekend excursions that I planned in my head as I read along was more compelling than my wish to go to This review might be biased for it is the story of the city I love. A narrative that reminds me of the movie Man from Earth- but just on the 'beautiful city yet horrible place' of Bombay. The author's story of the city is short, crisp and fluid. The pre-Independence part 1 of the book makes you want to go re-discover your city now armed with the remarkable narratives of some areas. None of the weekend excursions that I planned in my head as I read along was more compelling than my wish to go to Nalasopara to visit the remains of a Mauryan Age stupa. The second part of the book takes on a political tone (bound to polarize readers) but the shift in voice too is indicative of the transformation our city went through. This is however Naresh Fernandes' story of the city and he delivers it as his ringside spectator view of the city through centuries.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Samarth Advani

    The second part of the book deals way too much with the real estate of Bombay for my liking instead of the events and moments that shaped the city, and that takes away some of the fun. The first part is very intriguing though, and well worth the read. It’s pretty cool to know about all the things Bombay went through to become the city it is today.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Zoeb

    Neatly divided into two halves, one illustrating the past and the other the near-past, present and future, Naresh Fernandes' light and lovely account of Bombay is just perfect for both the outsider wondering skeptically about the seductive charms of this city and the old-timer of the city who has seen it go through many a transformation. There is a ton of information in this book, experienced firsthand by Fernandes' street-trotting adventures as a journalist but all these nuggets of insight, obs Neatly divided into two halves, one illustrating the past and the other the near-past, present and future, Naresh Fernandes' light and lovely account of Bombay is just perfect for both the outsider wondering skeptically about the seductive charms of this city and the old-timer of the city who has seen it go through many a transformation. There is a ton of information in this book, experienced firsthand by Fernandes' street-trotting adventures as a journalist but all these nuggets of insight, observation and fact are served with a lucid and always enjoyable style that remains compelling without being too verbose. Some of the most interesting parts in the first half shed a light on the exact nature of the reclamation projects that gave a definite shape to the city by joining together the seven disparate islands in the 19th century; I was particularly stunned to discover that Colaba and the Naval Cantonment had been two separate entities before the Causeway, now a thoroughfare of dirt cheap shopping and iconoclast eating haunts, had been built to connect them. And I was certainly not aware that Bombay's own Chinatown had flourished in Mazagaon. It is, however, the latter half that Fernandes sheds the skin of chronicler and unleashes his journalistic skills in dissecting the not-so-pleasant realities that confront this astounding yet often confounding city. There is the new surge of communalism to worry about; there is the not-so-old past of sectarian violence during the 1992-93 riots and the subsequent serial bomb blasts to haunt today's generations and there are other, more troubling issues, one of them being the overcrowding of the city. Fernandes laments the new mindset of the average Bombay denizen, that of seeking exclusivity and escape from the sprawl of amenities and infrastructure in the city's various suburbs. And he also points out, with almost poignant and wistful regret, that it is this mindset that is making the city less warm and friendly to the outsiders. In short, 'City Adrift' is brilliant.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Abhïshék Ghosh

    Charles Correa, one of the architects of the city of Bombay, once is said to have remarked,"Bombay is a great city and a terrible place." City Adrift is a succinct 155-page read that takes you on a story peppered with family history. Naresh Fernandes opens his book with a tale of Portuguese dowries, quaint churches, and Imperial ambitions to create 'Reclamations' (this bit is a tad anachronistic and all over the place). However, he quickly regains track to talk about the setting up of the city w Charles Correa, one of the architects of the city of Bombay, once is said to have remarked,"Bombay is a great city and a terrible place." City Adrift is a succinct 155-page read that takes you on a story peppered with family history. Naresh Fernandes opens his book with a tale of Portuguese dowries, quaint churches, and Imperial ambitions to create 'Reclamations' (this bit is a tad anachronistic and all over the place). However, he quickly regains track to talk about the setting up of the city when a contractor named Ramji Shivaji dreamt about uniting Bombay with Worli (as commanded by the goddess Mumba Devi in his dream). From its archipelagic history, Bombay rose to a veritable magnet for traders of all castes, languages, and faiths. It found itself wrapped in the clutches of fervent nationalism under Gandhi, only to relapse into a mad pursuit of wealth post independence. Naresh makes an interesting point in contrasting the business-philanthropic interests of the Wadias, Jeejebhoys and Tatas with the affluent, unreachable (literally, because of the sky-high walls of gated communities they live in) elite of today who couldn't care less about the choking of the Mithi or the crony nexus of politicians and real estate developers who conspire to kill the infrastructure of the city one tower at a time. Even though the book ends very abruptly, with not enough justice done to the Mumbai Floods of 2005, or the 2008 Terror attacks, it would be a light read and definitely recommended to anyone who worries about the future of this megapolis.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Siddharth Sharma

    A short, crisp and erudite work on Bombay's origin, its demographics and culture. A decent coverage of its so called 'cosmopolitan' image, the cotton mills and unions, land reclamation works, slum rehabilitation projects, the rising real estate business, of 1993 riots, of 2005 floods, Shiv Sena influence... In all, it can definitely help novices like me, in gaining a better sense of the city. It isn't close to Dalrymple's Delhi: neither in depth nor in the curious affection that the Scot can exud A short, crisp and erudite work on Bombay's origin, its demographics and culture. A decent coverage of its so called 'cosmopolitan' image, the cotton mills and unions, land reclamation works, slum rehabilitation projects, the rising real estate business, of 1993 riots, of 2005 floods, Shiv Sena influence... In all, it can definitely help novices like me, in gaining a better sense of the city. It isn't close to Dalrymple's Delhi: neither in depth nor in the curious affection that the Scot can exude in his prose. But it stands out in its own way. Particularly in the author's observations, colorful choice of vocabulary, and the resulting brevity.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Umesh Kesavan

    For such a short book,the book packs in so much of information .More than the information and the beautifully written prose,it is the care and love for Bombay that shines through in this little gem.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rohita

    For someone living in Bombay, this book is eye-opening and in some parts, heart-breaking.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amrendra

    City Adrift is a well researched and factual narrative of Mumbai's past, starting from how it was 7 Islands as a part of dowry for the Catherine of Braganza to the walled Fort City to the Backbay Reclamation Scheme of the 1920s to modern day Mumbai as an urban slum. The book focuses more on the history and geography of the city rather than its social milieu. It recounts its various administrators and Governors and what changes they brought right down to the role played by its Municipalities under City Adrift is a well researched and factual narrative of Mumbai's past, starting from how it was 7 Islands as a part of dowry for the Catherine of Braganza to the walled Fort City to the Backbay Reclamation Scheme of the 1920s to modern day Mumbai as an urban slum. The book focuses more on the history and geography of the city rather than its social milieu. It recounts its various administrators and Governors and what changes they brought right down to the role played by its Municipalities under the Shiv Sena. It tells the tale of its various Godesses and the Parsi businessmen who laid the city's initial foundations. Capturing the Mill movement to Gandhiji's arrival and the role of the city in his movements as also the beginnings of the Congress, the book deftly covers the landmarks and milestones in the city's chequered past. It also captures the history of the city's prominent areas like Bandra, Worli, Colaba, Kamathipura, Bhendi Bazar, etc. In the second part of the book the author shifts focus to exposing the land grab and organised corruption in the name of slum redevelopment that is shaping the city from a cosmopolitan melting pot to a city dominated by walled luxury enclaves that restricts social mobility and perpetuates economic segregation, something which the author considers very detrimental to the city's long held charm romanticised in Bollywood movies and damaging to its economic pull borne out of the success of its industries. He narrates how businesses are moving out and the city is witnessing more communal flare-ups. The book also touches upon the riots and bomb blasts the city has seen over recent times. From infrastructure to housing, to traffic, conniving politicians and land-mafia and the problems of the slums, the author rakes it all and tries to explore the reasons with a sigh of lament over the glorious past of the city his forefathers lived in. With a sense of personal loss the author reminiscences all that was good in the erstwhile Bombay and contrasts it with the ugly and gloomy present. Overall this is a beautiful little book that does not shy in exposing the city's grime and its real reasons coasting clear of the pitfalls of romanticising the land and its people. A clinical exploration of Bombay indeed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chaitalee Ghosalkar

    This novella sized book is a wonderful account of the life and times of Bombay (now Mumbai), a city that never sleeps, one known for its indomitable spirit. The author charts the city's journey right from it's inception till a few years before the publishing of this book while lamenting about the sad state of affairs that the governance and population has led it to. The initial years are a delight. The making of the city we now know to be the financial capital of India makes for a fascinating rea This novella sized book is a wonderful account of the life and times of Bombay (now Mumbai), a city that never sleeps, one known for its indomitable spirit. The author charts the city's journey right from it's inception till a few years before the publishing of this book while lamenting about the sad state of affairs that the governance and population has led it to. The initial years are a delight. The making of the city we now know to be the financial capital of India makes for a fascinating read. Certain elements that came into effect in these initial years are still visible in bits and pieces and that keeps you in touch with Mumbai's history. Then the author moves into twentieth century, and problems start to arise. It is both my personal and a generally accepted opinion that if you are presenting a case wherein there are bound to be two sides, it is of utmost importance on part of the author to be neutral-either provide sufficient weight to both sides or be dismissive of them altogether. Sadly, that's not the case here. Fernandes takes the side of one the warring factions in a tone that is so reminiscent of the one I am hearing around me nowadays. Turns out, the author is the editor of a digital newspaper which is owned and therefore essentially a mouthpiece of its parent political party. That itself took off one star from my rating. Also, the author's vehemence upon not being able to switch to calling the city Mumbai (I've seen this to be the case of many people staying in Bandra and beyond belt...townies, as they call themselves) when the names Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai (Madras) roll off his tongue easily reeks of hypocrisy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vinayak Hegde

    More like 2.5 stars. The book is an ode to the city of Bombay (now know an Mumbai). It goes into the history of the city and the different people who make the city that it is today. Bombay was always cosmopolitan through the ages and was spared the ravages of partition being situated away from the borders (unlike Delhi and Kolkata). Some of the most pivotal moments of India's independence were witnessed by the city and were cheered on enthusiastically by the city's populace. The author goes deep More like 2.5 stars. The book is an ode to the city of Bombay (now know an Mumbai). It goes into the history of the city and the different people who make the city that it is today. Bombay was always cosmopolitan through the ages and was spared the ravages of partition being situated away from the borders (unlike Delhi and Kolkata). Some of the most pivotal moments of India's independence were witnessed by the city and were cheered on enthusiastically by the city's populace. The author goes deep into the urban planning of the city - how closely it is connected to the city's history and how time and again has been compromised by the unholy nexus of businessmen and politicians. Every plan to rejuvenate the sprawling suburb and the city centre is waylaid by this unholy nexus. The best takeaway line for me from this book was "Privileging infrastructure for private vehicles over public transport is flawed urban policy and a mockery of democracy". The last fifth of the book descends into ranting of the ills of the city, the chaos of the city is descending to and the abutting apathy of it's residents - the Mumbaikars. The book starts well but the narrative weakens halfway into the book eventually meandering into ranting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lima

    Just as the synopsis of the book describes it, the author gives a short biography of the city called Mumbai (although the author prefers the previous name, Bombay), with a sense of poignancy and deep love reflected for it. He incorporates history, current facts, personal experiences and other literary sources and eloquently weaves the content of the book, never seeming to surprise the reader with lesser-known facts about the City of Dreams, a city which has slowly lost its charm, thanks to the a Just as the synopsis of the book describes it, the author gives a short biography of the city called Mumbai (although the author prefers the previous name, Bombay), with a sense of poignancy and deep love reflected for it. He incorporates history, current facts, personal experiences and other literary sources and eloquently weaves the content of the book, never seeming to surprise the reader with lesser-known facts about the City of Dreams, a city which has slowly lost its charm, thanks to the apathy of its citizens and the establishments in power. Being a Mumbaikar myself, it was easy to relate to the oblivious and ineptitude of its inhabitants, and only weep at its current state and remain displeased with the name-changing spree that the city seems to be occupied with. It was really an eye-opener too, to know about the injustice meted out to a majority of the city's citizens, and to be aware that the City of Dreams has long ceased to live up to its name. Looking forward to many more literary works by the author!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shanky

    Amazon https://amzn.to/2RZNqUr https://amzn.to/2U6h9Zm Naresh has written quite a painful account of what has been happening to Bombay over the years. There is no doubt that the city is under tremendous pressure being landlocked and being the capital of almost everything be it, financial, bollywood or corporates. What I particularly liked in the book is that Naresh has taken us through the history of the city, its present state and has also foretold where it is going to go. Naresh has also discussed Amazon https://amzn.to/2RZNqUr https://amzn.to/2U6h9Zm Naresh has written quite a painful account of what has been happening to Bombay over the years. There is no doubt that the city is under tremendous pressure being landlocked and being the capital of almost everything be it, financial, bollywood or corporates. What I particularly liked in the book is that Naresh has taken us through the history of the city, its present state and has also foretold where it is going to go. Naresh has also discussed in detail (somewhat through opinions) not just the economic journey of the city but also the political and commercial journey. All these put together have made Bombay what it is today. Nothing in isolation. No doubt, the city needs repair and attention. Some other cities have come up massively over time and that has been Bombay's loss. The pain is well reflected in the tone used in the book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Simran Sharma (Craartology)

    A home to many and a dream for many more! Bombay will never seems to amaze me. There's so much more to the city apart from the opportunities of livelihood it offers, the sky-scrappers, the cosmopolitan dwellers, the education, Bollywood and of course the soothing sea-breeze! From being a group of seven islands and the dowry of the Portuguese princess Catherine this city has evolved fantastically for it's all gone through due to colonization- conversions and introductions of traditions, habits and A home to many and a dream for many more! Bombay will never seems to amaze me. There's so much more to the city apart from the opportunities of livelihood it offers, the sky-scrappers, the cosmopolitan dwellers, the education, Bollywood and of course the soothing sea-breeze! From being a group of seven islands and the dowry of the Portuguese princess Catherine this city has evolved fantastically for it's all gone through due to colonization- conversions and introductions of traditions, habits and a way of life that suited the British, in addition to reclaiming land for a larger human habitat. It will be incorrect to call the dreamland just a concrete jungle or a financial capital having Manhattan vibes, as it has been through a fair share of rough years. The author successfully manages to cover a great deal be it the landscape, politics and the daily struggles of every dweller that impact the city in many ways. Read it for sure!✅

  21. 4 out of 5

    Varun Nayak

    Having spent a decade in the 'City of Dreams', anything and everything about Mumbai gets me interested. As such, it is highly likely that I am be a bit biased while rating the book. City Adrift is a concise history of Mumbai. The narrative though not detailed, is fast paced and keeps the reader interested, unlike 'traditional history books' that tend to focus more on dates and events. What I particularly loved about this book is the concern that Naresh has for the city, which is reflected very nic Having spent a decade in the 'City of Dreams', anything and everything about Mumbai gets me interested. As such, it is highly likely that I am be a bit biased while rating the book. City Adrift is a concise history of Mumbai. The narrative though not detailed, is fast paced and keeps the reader interested, unlike 'traditional history books' that tend to focus more on dates and events. What I particularly loved about this book is the concern that Naresh has for the city, which is reflected very nicely especially in the closing chapters. Indeed, a great read!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abhishek Sahoo

    I enjoyed the first half on the early history of Bombay much more than the rest of the book. Enlightened me about the origins of my own city like no other work has. The issues raised in the second half are extremely relevant, though the treatment here is, to borrow the author's own use of the word, 'eisegetical', and the text is on occasion, given to nostalgia. Full marks to Naresh Fernandes for diagnosing the many tribulations of Bombay - the treatment prescribed (or not), is for the urban plan I enjoyed the first half on the early history of Bombay much more than the rest of the book. Enlightened me about the origins of my own city like no other work has. The issues raised in the second half are extremely relevant, though the treatment here is, to borrow the author's own use of the word, 'eisegetical', and the text is on occasion, given to nostalgia. Full marks to Naresh Fernandes for diagnosing the many tribulations of Bombay - the treatment prescribed (or not), is for the urban planning 'experts' to commentate on.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dhruv Bhandula

    This book is written in a well thought and concise manner. It's the first time I have read a book about Mumbai. Although a book of this size can't tell you the complete story of a city as big and old as Mumbai, it does a great job in giving you small pointers to touch upon the major aspects of this city. I would surely like to revisit the city with a book covering more about the city, but as of now, this book does make me more aware about the past of this city of wonder.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Swateek

    "Cities are interesting" - was my takeaway from Askew, a book about Bangalore. This love prompted me to pick up books that are based on cities. This book didn't catch me in its flow, it felt like a good collection of collated pieces but the narrative not being in the story telling format was a bummer. However, it was a good way of getting to know Bombay (yes, Bombay. always!) right from the time they were separate islands through the monsoons of 2005.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anil Swarup

    The book traces the evolution of the city of Bombay since its early days. The first part of the book does provide certain very fascinating details about the events and occurrences that even the present day denizens of the city would be unaware. However, the mess that has been created over the past five decades is there for everyone to see. the author does that well too but perhaps all of it is so evident that a reiteration does not make the description as fascinating as the first part.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Harshit Gupta

    In a lot of ways, this book was exactly what I was looking for. A concise history of the city of Bombay. A history of its interesting geography. But at times, it felt a bit too short. However, that makes it pretty much a must read for anyone interested in the city and its history, even if you're not big on reading. Do read it if you have lived in Bombay, or Mumbai.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karina Roberts

    An interesting, well-written and not-too-heavy biography of an amazing city, Bombay. Such an interesting history, but easier to fully appreciate if you know Mumbai significantly better than I do. Only a recommendation, really, if you have an interest in Mumbai and Indian town planning. As someone who enjoys visiting Mumbai, I appreciated this book a lot.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chaitanya Sharma

    Very poor account of a city as historical, diverse, layered as Mumbai. Neither does the author make an attempt to touch the pasts properly nor does he describe the denizens vividly. He doesn't even care to reason the city's fast-paced life which any new person instantly experiences on reaching the city.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Saahil Parekh

    City Adrift contains, as the author puts it, a short history of Bombay that has been told in a fashion that makes you want to not put the book down. In other parts of the book that talk about the contemporary and recent times of the city, it is all just a thoroughly enjoyable rant.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Raylene

    Absolutely love it. The style and candour draws you in. Unexpected prose on expected subjects. A marvellous read on Beloved Bombay.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.