After a very much longer break, I’m back with another review.
This time, I’m writing the review of Shweta Bachchan Nanda’s “Paradise Towers”.
Dinesh opens the door to the Kapoor flat to find Lata, the enchantress who works at Mrs Aly Khan’s, carrying a hot case with freshly made gaajar ka halwa. On the first floor, the inquisitive Mrs Mody wipes the dust off her precious binoculars to spy on the building’s security guard. The Singhs open the doors of their SUV, their four boys creating a ruckus – they are the newcomers, the outsiders. Through the peephole, the ever-watchful Mrs Ranganekar observes their arrival. Welcome to Paradise Towers, an apartment building in central Mumbai. Everyone here has a story to tell. Or maybe they have stories to hide.
Shweta Bachchan-Nanda’s quirky, intimate debut explores the intertwined lives in this building – a forbidden romance, an elopement, the undercurrents of tension in corridor interactions and an explosive Diwali celebration. Bachchan-Nanda’s is a dazzling voice that will draw you into the intoxicating, crazy world that is Paradise Towers.
The book is written from the author’s viewpoint. Describing every single resident of Paradise Towers with ease, the author connects the audience with the characters of the book convincingly. The lives of the residents of the building are shown to be a amalgamation of happiness and tension, and what they don’t miss is snooping on each other’s lives. The reader is reminded of his own neighbours and their nature by reading about the residents of the towers. The tensions, fights, happy moments, all are captured perfectly by the author. She doesn’t miss out on using humour and sarcasm in some places.
Now, talking about the characters of the book, I’m going to write about the ones who impressed me the most (Rest also impressed me, but the selected one impressed me more!) –
Mrs Ranganekar – A dutiful housewife, an excellent cook, and a victim of domestic abuse by her husband, the always angry Mr Ranganekar. She wishes to be free from the domestic abuse she’s facing at the hands of her husband. She is the darling of the women of the towers for her amazing cooking skills. And, she doesn’t forget to snoop on her new neighbours, the jovial Singhs, through the peephole.
Mrs. Mody – The oldest & first resident of the Paradise Towers, she was really amazing at spying on the building’s security guard and what the residents are doing in their lives using her binoculars. She was a regular bookie, for she placed bets on horses, and was extremely lucky. She also owned a few horses. She died after consuming poisonous lemonade.
Singh Family – The always – happy, cheerful Singh family shifted from New Jersey, USA to Mumbai to get their four sons accustomed to the Indian style of living, for they were getting out of control back in USA. Mrs Singh’s nature of spoiling every non-asked detail to others surprised Mrs Roy (who like Mrs. Mody had an habit of snooping into other’s lives and was the undisputed gossip-monger in the towers), who presumed her to be the non-stop talker. Mr Singh was always jovial, no matter what, and a big foodie. He had an elaborate and exclusive collection of whiskeys and brandy. The eldest son, Sameer Singh or Sam, was the absolute chilled-out kid (or junglee/wild in the eyes of Mrs Roy, without any manners!). Yes, although he was less on mannerism, he was in love with Shaana Roy, the only child of the Roys. AJ Singh, the third child of the Singhs, dropped out of school and earlier smoked pot, now decided to become a rapper. The details of the other two children are not given in the book.
Lata – The servant at the Aly Khan family, she was very beautiful and enchanting, and was loyal to the Aly Khan family. Dinesh, the servant at the Kapoor family, loved her and wished to marry her. In return, she also loved Dinesh, but left him when he betrayed her trust and love by disclosing the love affair of Laila, the daughter of Mrs Aly Khan to her employee.
Other characters are also important to the story of the book, like Mr & Mrs Roy, Mrs Kapoor, Mr & Mrs Patel, Patrick (Mrs Mody’s man Friday), Mr Aly Khan, Dinesh and the liftman (this liftman is very important to the book, for he has something to do with the lives of the Ranganekars). You can read about them in the book.
I really enjoyed the book, and loved it for its simplicity, although it could have been written in a more close-knit manner. Still, I loved the book!
A fresh take on the lives of people in high – rise apartments, Paradise Towers is the well – written platter of how people live in these sky-touching flats, their habit of snooping in each other’s lives, how incidents happening in front of them change their lives, and how the residents are close-knit. Perfectly written, with humour and sarcasm in some places. Written in a very simple English, the book shines out! ❤
Overall, I enjoyed the book and will recommend it to everyone for it is a light read, and can be finished in a single day.