Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

This is not the post I intended to write about Mahim. That will be a different post. But I just finished reading Murder in Mahim on the flight and I felt that I must write about it. Jerry Pinto has portrayed the stretch between Mahim and Dadar beautifully in his book, now a popular TV series. I watched a couple of episodes but I wasn’t too impressed so I picked up the book for my flight and my hunch was right. The book is definitely better.

Mahim has been my second home. My mother grew up there so in a way it is my nanihaal. It is the place where my uncles, aunt and grandma still live. On LJ Road. So when Jerry Pinto writes about Cadell road and Mahim causeway, I know exactly where Peter – the journalist and Jhende – the cop are walking by. The dargah and the temple, and Victoria church and school are all landmarks of my childhood. And oh yes, how can I forget Shobha hotel? Where my father took us for countless meals while visiting Mahim.

Mahikavati, the erstwhile capital of King Bhim or Bhim has been an important part of the history of Bombay. It is one of the seven islands which together form the Bombay city island. One of the first churches of the city, The St Michael church still stands and attracts many devotees including my mother who visits to offer novenas.

As a child I remember going to the beach near Hinduja Hospital and playing endlessly in the sand and the sea. The many cinema theatres which dotted LJ road hold many more memories. Some cinemas survive and some don’t but the bus stops still hold the same names. The Gopi tank market still supplies great fish and the quiet Moghul lane is a wonderful connecting artery between Matunga Road and Mahim.

In the novel, all the landmarks of Mahim-Matunga come alive. But the novel is beyond the neighborhoods, it is a potent commentary on the world of male prostitutes, the LGBTQ community and how the society interacts with them at large. The bias prevalent in the society is brought out in a matter of fact fashion in this gritty thriller. The interplay of the state and the media is also depicted quite accurately. This nuanced novel will definitely force you to rethink and reflect on your own biases and perceptions.

I finished the book by the time my flight landed. I didn’t realise when the journey got over. I hope you read the book and also watch the series, but be prepared to agree with me that the book was definitely better.