So you think that Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts defines Mumbai? Got what you need to know about Mumbai from the novel?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that novel is only one adventurous aspect of Mumbai.
Mumbai has many layers. It is definitely more than Marine Drive or famed iconic restaurants. Mumbai may have been all about the town till about the 1980s but believe me it has mushroomed and mushroomed since then.
Yet, mostly Mumbai novels are centred around the town and do not speak of suburbs. While, recently, there have been newer novels that go beyond South Mumbai and explore other neighbourhoods, there is still a dearth of novels about the city from a suburban point of view.
There should be stories written about the constant monsoon flooding, about Aarey Colony, about SGNP trips, about picnics to Elephanta Island, about architecture other than the Art Deco, about leopard attacks, about the migrants, the dabbawallas, the overflowing markets, about the fishermen, about the Worli Sea Link, about the new metro travels, about communities other than Parsis and so much more.
Why limit your idea of Mumbai to only one single stretch of sea facing pavement? (Don’t get me wrong, I love Marine Drive and have spent good fun and thoughtful times there! But still there is more to Mumbai than that!)
Nonetheless, let us wait till such a novel is written, found and published.
For now let us look at books that go beyond the Taj Hotel, Gateway of India and other such symbols that stereotype the city!