"That first Bombay minute... the sweet sweating smell of hope, the opposite of hate… the smell of gods, demons, empires and civilisations in resurrection and decay… the blue-skin smell of the sea… the heartbreak, and the struggle to live… the crucial failures and loves that produce our courage... the smell of ten thousand restaurants…. temples, shrines, churches and mosques… a hundred bazaars devoted exclusively to perfumes, spices incense and freshly cut flowers… it’s my first sense of the city – that smell, above all things – that welcomes me and tells me I’ve come home.”
There are many, many great books that describe the crazy city of Bombay, and Shantaram is definitely one of them. A giant of a novel, a sweeping tale with the city as its real hero, bringing to life all of Bombay's heat, noise and colour. Much of the action takes place on Colaba Causeway, and in particular the Leopold Restaurant, an institution for travellers to India and round the corner from where I was born, spent my earliest years and have some of my best memories.
Shantaram is the theme for our next Bombay Cook Club: Book Club and we have planned a streetfood feast inspired by this fabulous book.
Join us to hear some Bombay stories, and help us cook up a meal worthy of the Bombay roadside. On the menu... samosas and batata vadas, served with green chutney, bhel puri, chicken kebabs, kachumber, roti, saffron and honey lassi and mango kulfi. Yum!