July 25, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

How Altaf Tyrewals chronicles lives in Mumbai

1 min read

Mockery is Tyrewala’s style. The idea for the title story came to him when he saw hoardings with mangled spellings of hindi television serials: Mint

altafSitting in the seventh-floor canteen of Altaf Tyrewala’s office, situated in a high-rise glass building in Andheri, Mumbai, one mulls over the 37-year-old author’s reluctance to call himself a chronicler of the city of Mumbai. He shrugs. “I’m not a self-conscious city transcriber. I just need geography for my fiction, and this city happens to be it.”

Back in 2005, Tyrewala wore the mantle of chronicler with ease when he broke on to the literary scene with his first book, No God In Sight. The novel, if one may call it that, broke rules of form and content as it mapped several characters of Mumbai whose lives overlap, not always intentionally. Unlike the conventional novel that demands teleology, and greater cohesiveness of narrative through plot and character, Tyrewala’s resembled a collection of modern-day folk stories, where the connection between characters derived less from a moral imperative and more from the gossamer connection forged through crowded, cruel urban living.

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