Shelves: read-in , indian-author , good-characterization , abrupt-ending , books-i-own , mumbai-bombay , indian-literature This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book starts off with promise of being a different take but somehow ends up like a Bollywood movie. The story manages to depict the various aspects such as drugs, prostitution, business constitution, unexpected camaraderie, plight of the poor people in contrast with the rich, etc rather realistically a huge plus in the otherwise not-so-intriguing plot. There are loose ends and lots of masala but what fills this book with life is the description of the city of dreams -Mumbai.

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Your protagonists draw the reader into their world. I really started caring about them. It is a world of turbulent passion and soul numbing loneliness … of a desperate struggle to be free of the past as well as a rat trap of tomorrows. The book will come back to you each time you look at a driver from the back seat! It has its fair share of poignant and magical moments. Feeling very very proud of you. Congrats man! Aditya is a sponge.

The book shows it. At a relatively young age, he has gained insight into psychology, religious literature, martial arts, watches!

Using his remarkable observation and imagination, he weaves a tale that makes you live every moment of it. Refreshingly, Aditya does neither. As you read, you get to know your driver, your watchman, the pan-wala, the madman on the road, the police sub-inspector of your area, a little more.

The Sindhi suppressed daughter-in-law is also structurally a classic sub-plot, from the field of screenwriting. A classic underdog, who is pure of heart, and will run head on into dangerous situations, because he knows no other way. Admittedly, from my perspective, there are areas for improvement but then what on earth cannot be improved, and these are all subjective perspectives.

While character development and choice of subject is remarkable, the plot could have perhaps packed in some more surprises. Some parts could be edited somewhat — the experiences of the druggie, his interactions with his father, the sum total of pages devoted to descriptions of the locations I enjoyed most location descriptions, individually, but as a sum total in the book, the total length devoted to these could perhaps be lesser. Unfortunately for me it did not. Nevertheless, as I put the book down, it felt like it was time well spent.

I felt like a layer had been added to my life, and to my understanding of the people around me, in our beloved city, Aamchi Mumbai! Hearty congratulations to you, Aditya. Amidst all that the city gives, it takes more from you.

Kripalani has woven them into an elaborate and absorbing tale whose twist and weft conveys stark realism and dark urban romance. The protagonist in the book is Nikita who has been trapped and sold into the racket of flesh-trade in Bombay.

Another character that blooms in the book is the young educated Bihari boy who under difficult circumstances ran away to Bombay and started a career as a driver. The story revolves in the mini stories that go on the back-seat of some of the posh cars in Bombay. From drugs, to prostitution, to murder — the book has it all that happens in the shinny city of Bombay. The main protagonist in the book is perhaps the city of Bombay which has many unusual and unrevealed stories of the thousands of Bombaites and immigrants who settles in the city every year.

The book reveals the life of those whom we are unaware of, the likes of high-class prostitutes and car drivers in the city. There were no options left for many bar-dancers hence, they had to resort to the flesh trade that is so prevalent in the city.

I had loved his story-telling and thoughts so much that I was even able to discount the spelling errors and grammar in the book, and look into its sensitive soul. Many of the dialogues in the book are in Marathi and the most used lingo of Bombay, making the book like a cinema through words.

After you finish the book, you are bound to feel a vacuum in your heart as you will miss the characters and the city of Bombay.

A wonderful read! Very gripping and powerful. They say God lies in the details. Vijay, Shashank and Nikita all typify Mumbai. You want good things to happen to her.

Aditya weaves his story in such an engaging way that I finished over pages in 24 hours! Everything is real. The setting, the characters, the story, making it almost non-fictitious.

Like a rollercoaster ride, it builds up at first and then takes you down with it full throttle. Really liked the story. Well done! I read your book during very unfortunate circumstances and whilst I was smack in the middle of a personal crisis. Basically, he was immovable and on the bed. And, the worst effect of the stroke was that it affected his ability to swallow. It was so bad that just so he would not choke on his own saliva the doctors had made a slit in this throat which was then used to extract the accumulated saliva every 1 — 1.

What this also meant was that although he was under medical supervision one member of the family had to stay awake each night to ensure that the process of extracting his saliva was done correctly and on time. The consequence of that not happening was risking him choking to death. Now, I clearly remember that night when I was leaving my house to go to the hospital.

My wife had already read it before and recommended to me and to most of her friends. As I started on my personal endeavour to stay awake that night, I also simultaneously began my journey into the life of the protagonist and the other characters that you have described so well.

I love your writing style for that reason, it made it so easily for me visualise and slip away into the story as it unfolded while I read your book through the night. I distinctly remember feeling that I had lived a lifetime during that night. As it happened, that was the last night I spent with my dad as he passed away the next day.

So you see, your book has somehow gotten associated to a very painful time of my life but as a silver lining in that dark, dark night. It made for a read which was refreshingly different. Gripping and exhilarating, it went to the depths of human character and emotion. The characters playing out their lives before our very eyes.

The innocence, the excitement and even the silent suffering of each individual was put across beautifully by Aditya. The simple tone he chose for the book was fitting and the description elaborate. As for the characters, my favourite was Nikita who feels like someone I have known all my life. Someone whom I have a very strong connection with and whose story I will carry with me for the rest of my years.

Shashank is the little child inside of every one of us who only wants to be loved and accepted. These three protagonists seem like they actually exist out there, in real life, somewhere. You have given them life Aditya. And how wonderfully vivid their journeys have been. Being totally unbiased, I have to say the written English needs to be polished up a bit and a few punctuation and typos here and there.

If I may make a suggestion, try not to use so many brand names in the book as that tends to distract the reader from what is more important, the characters and the story. I really enjoyed reading it. Loved the story even then and was waiting to read it at one stretch. When I read the full book, I fell in love with it all the more. But the biggest irony here is that even though it is a story about people who seem to be living in the world of despair, drugs, prostitution etc.

Be it Yakub, Sharan Arasa, or even Priyanka. But when I finished reading the book, for some days I actually felt a vacuum in my heart as I was missing all of them: Nikita, Shashank, Vijay etc. I was myself amazed at this feeling. Another thing which was lovely to read was the way Mumbai city was described.

The big pleasures that we can derive by doing the smallest of things in this city was what appealed to me the most. The backseat had given her misery, pain,embarassment..

I have even gone ahead of the destination where I was supposed to get down.. The bus ride that they have to goa, the feelings which she has within, the emotion about crossing ones hometown. I read it. About half way though the book I realized that when I was done, I was going to sit and type a long email reviewing the book.

Where do I begin? Do I tell you that strangely I related to Nikita in the most oddest of ways? I felt her loneliness, her need to be wanted and accepted even. And that is strange considering that she is a bar dancer after all. Or should I tell you that while I complain to you nearly everyday about how much I miss Mumbai, the descriptions of the city only made me more nostalgic. I could hear the noisy traffic, the hot monsoon rain and the intensity that is Mumbai.

The fact that even if you had never been to Mumbai in your life, your descriptions were so deep and graphic, you were immediately sucked in and put in the middle of Colaba only to become a part of the novel as a bystander even. I simply adored how the book is basically a Bollywood film in words. All I needed was a song or two and I would have been in heaven! Basically nothing. Shashank was a necessity for the relationship of Nikita and Vijay to progress into one that was beyond a bar dancer and driver.

By far, theirs is one of extreme passion in a secretive way. That very secrecy was what kept me going; the anticipation of what would happen next kept me turning pages.

Would they get caught?


Aditya Kripalani

Gukree Open Preview See a Problem? Its a must read book for any bombayite. Leave a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. And all the more reason to make a film, and not a documentary. Aditya Kripalani It shows how next gen in underworld is developing friendship with rich kids to find potential customers for drugs and other stuff they deal in. Backseat is a novel which will take you on 3 journeys reaching the same destination.


Front Seat


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