Zarin Virji, a creative writing graduate from the University of Sheffield, follows her passions of teaching and writing.
For over three decades she has played the role of a teacher, teacher trainer and head of school. From 1996 to 2006, she edited the journal Classroom, a safe space for all matters related to education. Her writing is as much about expressing spontaneous feeling as it is about grappling with socio-economic realities of our times. Her poetry and short stories have been featured in publications such as the Research Scholar, Route 57 and The Best Asian Short Stories (2018).
It did feel strange to see her lying cold and silent and then being carried away . . . But at the back of my mind was this growing anticipation-Sanjiv Maama was taking me to Mumbai!
When Gopal's mother dies, his uncle brings him to Mumbai to get a job because he has few prospects as a Dalit boy in a UP village.
Gopal is cast into the unfamiliar world of Squatters Colony, where he has no family or friends. He gets his first job at the bicycle shop owned by the sage Chacha and rapidly makes friends with the strange and diverse people who live in the community-Chacha's friendly daughter-in-law, the neighbourhood thug Raja, the three-legged Tiger and beautiful Ayesha.
And he learns that when disaster strikes and lives fall apart, he too has a family in the gully.
Zarin Virji's gripping debut describes the raw rollicking life of Mumbai's small neighbourhoods with vigour and zest.