Perpetual city – book review

It’s a small book, not a scholarly tome on the origins and development of India’s capital. That is not what Malvika’s book is about.

What it does instead, is act as a time capsule. It brings to life a Delhi nestled between the powerless masses and the powerful classes. A genteel, upper middle class life that existed before the city was overrun by supercars and their loud, horn blaring steroid-jacked “mimbos” (male bimbos. :P)

This was a Delhi of elegance and sophistication, of evening ghazal parties and home-made curries. Sprinkled in between these memories are little nuggets about the history of the city that has been the capital of this, our vast nation for the better part of the last millennium. It isn’t a textual history, but a contextual one, a personal one. And that is why you can, at times, almost feel the hot Delhi night air redolent with the heavy perfume of “raat ki rani” as you read the author’s accounts of her life in a Delhi that has all but disappeared. It’s a rather personal nostalgia, and Malvika shares it with us with style and warmth.

It’s a sweet day-read and a nice remembrance of the days that were. I’d recommend it to anyone with any memory of how the 80s went, or anyone who’d like to know how they went. 🙂


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