If you are looking for a heart-warming read during these tough times, I would recommend Bombay Balchao. I think it’s the best contemporary fiction I have read in recent times. (If you are wondering what the name means, Balchao is a special Goan prawn pickle)
It’s a story set in Dr Ralph D’Lima Street in Cavel, Bombay. The book is a collection of interconnected short stories about Cavel and its interesting inhabitants. The book shares stories of multiple generations of Goan Christians settled in Bombay. Each story in this book is well textured, the characters are well rounded. Being so nostalgic about my days in BITS Goa, I cherished every page of this book. I loved all the main characters. Michael Coutinho, Merlyn Mascarenhas, Ellena Gomes, Annette Coutinho and Mario Lawrence. Annette Coutinho is my favorite lady. There is a large group of secondary characters, each unique and hilarious in their own ways. When I started reading, I found the language a bit tough. But after a few pages, I got used to Ms. Borges’ language. She has a unique sense of story, history, characters and nuances of the lives of Goan Christians.
By the end of the book, I was sad, as I knew I’ll miss the quirky inhabitants of Cavel.