Bombay Blues

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Bombay Blues by Tanuja Desai Hidier is a sequel to the 2002 YA novel “Born Confused”, which, if you have not read, you MUST. Bombay Blues picks up two years after her last book left off: Dimple Lala, an “ABCD” – American Born Confused Desi (Hindu for a person from South Asia), who also a talented photographer, carrying her Chica Tikka, her third eye SLR camera, everywhere and recording everything with it. A gift from her beloved grandfather, her now deceased Dadaji, its photographs were how the two bridged their language barrier, communicating their lives to each other in pictures from half way around the world – Dimple in New Jersey, Dadaji in Bombay. Dimple also found herself involved with the boy her parents had considered ‘a suitable boy’ and whom she originally rejected simply because meeting him was arranged by their parents. The very handsome Karsh Kapoor is a favorite Indian DJ playing gigs in Manhattan night spots.

Now, in Bombay Blues, it is two year later and Dimple is 19, a student at New York University and still with Karsh. Dimple is heading to India along with her parents to celebrate the Lala’s wedding anniversary and for the wedding of Dimple’s sister-cousin Sangita. Karsh arrives a few days later, to hopefully break into Bombay’s music scene and to DJ Sangita’s wedding. Dimple and Karsh have been growing apart recently and she is hoping the trip will help them reconnect to each other again.

I’m still not done with this book – I’m savoring it. Hidier’s unconventional style and syntax can be a little bit confusing at first, but once you catch on to her rhythm you will be spellbound. Hidier gives Dimple her own language that draws from her constantly being pulled between her many worlds: new and the traditional, India and the United States, reality and the world that she creates with her photographs. Hidier gives you all the tensions, all the confusions, all the jealousies, all the happiness that make up a novel about family, friendships, relationships, identity. All the while, she conjures up the sight, sounds and smells of Bombay, creating a lovely aromatic and musical reading experience.

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