Famous Last Words

After declaring that The Lost Flamingos of Bombay is his last novel,Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi admits that he’s been ambushed by journalists to explain himself.

Written by Anushreemajumdar | Published:February 28, 2009 11:48 pm

Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi speaks about his latest and supposedly,last book

After declaring that The Lost Flamingos of Bombay is his last novel,Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi admits that he’s been ambushed by journalists to explain himself. “And there’s nothing to explain. This is it,” says Shanghvi,as he lounges on a wicker chair at the Taj Mansingh in the city. So what does he propose to do instead? “Make jam at home. I think I’ll name the brand Three Owls,I can see three of them on a branch,” smiles Shanghvi. Sounds far more cheerful than writing a book for over six years,I think.

The Lost Flamingos of Bombay (Penguin,Rs 499) is Shanghvi’s “Bombay novel”,although the events in the book have been taken from the Jessica Lal murder case in Delhi that shocked the entire nation. Karan Seth is a photographer on a mission to immortalise Bombay in a series of photos that would explore as well as expose it’s hidden faces. He meets Samar Arora,a pianist who has shunned a glamorous career as a best selling music artist. His best friend is Bollywood actress Zaira who’s battling a stalker. A tragic incident follows and Seth discovers the darker side of a city he was growing to love.

Shanghvi wrote his first book The Last Song of Dusk,when he was 24 and feels that as a writer,he has come a long way from his debut novel. “With this book,I learnt to be compassionate. There were characters of all sorts,I couldn’t paint them in singular colours. Even with Malik,Zaira’s murderer and with his father,I had to step into their shoes,” says Shanghvi who feels that very few contemporary Indian-English authors in India write about “people like you and me”. “In recent times,I haven’t read a book that is about people like us,and I wanted to write about such people,” says Shanghvi. So what about writing more? “When I was 20,my purpose in life was to write. And now it’s to just get away,” says Shanghvi. Well,good luck with the jam then.

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