Reality and lore combine in this love story which is as much about two lovers as it is about the city of Mumbai.
Mumbai was almost submerged on the fatal noon of 26 July 2005, when the merciless downpour and cloudburst had spread utter darkness and horror in the heart of the city. River Mithi was inundated, and the sea was furious. At this hour of torturous gloom, Rohzin begins declaring in the first line that it was the last day in the life of two lovers, Asrar and Hina.
The novel’s protagonist, Asrar, comes to Mumbai, and through his eyes the author describes the hitherto-unknown aspects of Mumbai, unseen colours and unseen secrets of the city’s underbelly. The love story of Asar and Hina begins abruptly and ends tragically. It is love at first sight which takes place in the premises of Haji Ali Dargah.
The arc of the novel studies various aspects of human emotions, especially love, longing and sexuality as sublime expressions. The emotions are examined, so is love as well as the absence of it, through a gamut of characters and their interrelated lives: Asrar’s relationship with his teacher, Ms Jamila, Shanti and, later, with Hina; Hina’s classmate Vidhi’s relations with her lover and others; Hina’s father Yusuf’s love for Aymal; Vanu’s indulgence in prostitutes.
Rohzin dwells on the plane of an imagination that takes readers on a unique journey across the city of Mumbai, a highly intriguing character in its own right.