Bombay Balchao by Jane Borges

Bombay Balchao by Jane Borges hit the shelves on 18th November 2019. It has been published by Tranquebar. It is Jane’s debut novel.

Bombay was the city everyone came to in the early decades of the nineteenth century: among them, the Goans and the Mangaloreans. Looking for a safe harbor, livelihood, and a new place to call home. Communities congregated around churches and markets, sharing lord and land with the native East Indians. The young among them were nudged on to the path of marriage, procreation, and godliness, though noble intentions were often ambushed by errant love and plain and simple lust. As in the story of Annette and Benji (and Joe) or Michael and Merlyn (and Ellena).

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Posted @withregram • @inthetimeofbooks || Boook Review || Bombay Blachao By Jane Borges ( @janeborges87 ) For reasons unkown, I have always been sceptical of writers who wrote about Goa. Perhaps it comes from the fact that I’ve lived here all my life, that the things that are often written about are common knowledge and can fail to surprise. Perhaps this scepticism comes from the fear, and therefore anger, at the fact that one could be labelled a pao, which is what Catholic people in Bombay were called because of the way they relished this soft bread. I had been waiting for this book to hit the shelves of our local bookstore to finally read something about Goans in Bombay. Ah, Bombay! That city where dreams and ambitions build and crumble. That is where this marvellous gem of a book is set. A quaint little Catholic neighbourhood, this delicious (because of the little mentions of the Goan food that I adore) debut novel “is painted with thr many shades of history and memory, laughter and melancholy, sunshine and silver rain”. In it, the stories of individual characters unravel, and in their unravelling, tell more stories of other characters. From childhood romances, to heartbreak, to dreams that fade away in the vice-grip of alcoholism, to failed marriages, to sibling relationships. Told with a journalists’ honest eye and mind and sprinkled with vanishing facts about the history of Bombay and the people that make it what it is. What really made me fall in love with the story are two things (among the plethora of instances that I loved). One, is a section of letters exchanged between a pair of childhood friends and the romance that went unanswered. The second, is that when Ellena (one of my favourites in the book) retires to Pernem, my hometown. Oh, Jane! I don’t remember the last time a book made me laugh, my eyes well up, my mouth water, go “aww”, and put my hand on my heart and appreciate the stories that are around me. #books #bookreview #book #bookstagram #literaryfiction #prettybooks #bookshelves #community #review #readmore #booksforlife #inthetimeofbooks #animals #janeborges #goa #bombay #culture #food #stories #life #reader #reading #readingtime #nowre

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Lovers and haters, friends and family, married men and determined singles, churchgoers and abstainers, Bombay Balchão is a tangled tale of ordinary lives – of a woman who loses her husband to a dockyard explosion and turns to bootlegging, a teen romance that drowns like a paper boat, a social misfit rescued by his addiction to crosswords, a wife who tries to exorcise the spirit of her dead mother-in-law from her husband, a rebellious young woman who spurns true love for the abandonment of dance. Ordinary, except when seen through their own eyes. Then, it’s legend.

Set in Cavel, a tiny Catholic neighborhood on Bombay’s D’Lima Street, this delightful debut novel is painted with many shades of history and memory, laughter and melancholy, sunshine and silver rain.

About the author

Jane Borges is a Mumbai-based journalist. She currently writes on books, heritage, and urban planning for Sunday mid-day, the weekend edition of mid-day newspaper. She has previously co-authored Mafia Queens of Mumbai: Stories of Women from the Ganglands with S. Hussain Zaidi in 2011.

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