The Temple-goers

by Aatish Taseer

At times this book made me feel nostalgic for the India I've visited some time ago: the smells, the colours and the poetry unique to the country. But the tale of Aatish and Aakash had for me the quality of 'Bombay mix': moreish when fresh and new, rancid when old. Similarly as the story progressed the rancid taste became somewhat overpowering making me look at the characters from a distance.


It was an easy mistake to make, easy to think of the border between Sectorpur and Delhi as only administrative. But it had a significance deeper than she knew. It was the border between town and country, between old ways and new, city ways, between rural poor and urban middle class, between the mall-goers and the wild men of Jhaatkebaal. And across that border on all sides, where women in brightly coloured clothes worked in fields and men lazed on charpoys drinking tea, young girls did not wear capris, or send text messages, or have boyfriends; and they certainly did not marry out of turn.


Reef by Romesh Gunesekera

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