The city as a character

Sushmita Jha
Saturday, 17 November 2018

Originally written in Hindi as Ishq mein shahar hona, the book has been translated into English by Akhil Katiyal. It’s a story of Samar, a Bihari boy now living in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar.

When two people fall in love, they go paint the city red! In their own little and big ways, the city becomes a witness to their dreams, loving moments, sulks and tears. And, Ravish Kumar’s A City Happens in Love encapsulates all this and more. 

Originally written in Hindi as Ishq mein shahar hona, the book has been translated into English by Akhil Katiyal. It’s a story of Samar, a Bihari boy now living in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar. He falls in love with a momo-seller from the North-East and they and their love for each other, travel to the nooks and corners of the capital city. 

These micro stories allow us to get into Dilliwallah’s preferred mode of transport — DTC buses, rickshaw, metro and finally on a Pulsar bike. The stories make wonderful use of personification, breathing life into inanimate objects. There is a part where the girl tells Samar, Why do you always sulk like those old, yellowed government quarters in Sarojini Nagar? To which Samar says, ‘Because you often seem a liar, like that Select City Mall’. 

Such comparisons would make sense to those who stay or have temporarily stayed in the city. But those who haven’t, will find it a little tricky to understand and connect to the metaphors. The same can also be said for the translation. By itself, the English novella makes for good reading. But Hindi is a better language to describe the moods and emotions of Delhi and its people. All in all, if you are an old school lover, you will definitely enjoy the book. 

A CITY HAPPENS IN LOVE
Author: Ravish Kumar
Translated by: Akhil Katyal
Publisher: Speaking Tiger 
Pages: 113
Price: Rs 250

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