Bombay Stories PDF ✓ Hardcover

Bombay Stories I honestly think this book just suffered a lot from its translation As I was reading it I could literally feel how much context I was missing out on because it wasn't translated well A lot of meaning and symbolism is lost once a work has been translated and I'm uite a big fan of the way penguin pocket classics format their translated fiction so for example in those editions if a phrase name or a word is mentioned that needs further explanation for the reader to truly understand its importance they add an asterisk and give the background information necessary in the footnote on the page It's simple to follow and helps a lot with understanding the book I think if Vintage had a similar format to that of Penguin's this would have been far enjoyable There was a point in the book that just annoyed me so there's a line that says I don't know what his real name was but everyone called him Dhundhu which was fitting because his job was to find girls that satisfied his customers' varied tastes But the thing is I don't know why that's fitting because I don't know what that word means to begin with That's why I feel like I wasn't getting as much as I could have from this collection unfortunatelyThe writing was really bland nothing was driving the stories if this were to have been one story rather than a collection of short stories I'm not sure I would have even gotten through it at all I failed to see a point or meaning to any of them but I think the stories were of a charactercity analysis rather than one with meaning in them so that was fine Manto often puts himself in the stories which I didn't enjoy at all it made the stories feel like a poorly written recount because it was all just I went to the coffee shop to meet my friend My friend was struggling We talked some then we separated Then I met another friend Again I feel like this was less Manto's fault and the translators'Regardless there's no argument that Manto was an incredibly influential writer and I'm glad to have read some of his work His life was the biggest tragedy and yet his legacy carried on in formation of India's film industry it's literally the biggest shame that he didn't live to see it I also enjoyed the essay Why I Don't Go to the Movies in the appendix I plan to write about Saadat Hasan Manto and his stories after reading Bitter Fruit The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto his anthology including sketches on the partition All i want to say now some of these stories are as good as any best short stories I've ever read including Chekhov and Joyce For example The Insult or Mozelle It is a pity that he is not better known now in the West I think a lot of South Asian writing is criminally neglected on a global level That’s not because I’m trying to be ethnocentric or I want people necessarily to think about writing from my place of origin It’s that I really do think there’s a lot of good writers who are just not being read enough as they should and I felt like doing whatever I can in a space as simple as this one to get them a few readers And if we have to talk about someone who is truly and indisputably great I can’t think of any other person to first and foremost focus on than the master of the short story that is Hasan Saadat Manto For me he has just as much range as Chekhov just as much swagger as Lord Byron and just as much ambition as Joyce And yet outside of India and Pakistan I don’t think many people read of him or know of him Considering how deeply his characters laugh or how much they emote aspire and live I consider this a real shameManto is a hard writer to classify partly because of the time period he wrote in He was born in Punjab made his name in Bombay but then Partition happened and since he was a Muslim he was sent to live in newly formed Pakistan He is supposedly a household name on the other side of the border but he also has a lot of fans in Bombay because most of his best stories were written there He is considered the most uintessential Partition voice mostly because of his own life story but also because of his story ‘Tek Toba Singh’ which tells the story of a crazy man in a prison who can’t recall his hometown the trick of the story is that this is because his home is actually literally on the border between Pakistan and India highlighting the idiocy of such a divide in the first place It’s probably the most anthologised story of a South Asian writer and for good reason It is built off of the twists and tricks of an OHenry story as well as the surreal premise of something Kafka would write but there’s an emotional poignancy to this man’s predicament and fate that put Manto in a class of his ownBut mostly it is his Bombay stories that are really awesome Manto just really gets Bombay He lived in the border of Mazgoan Mumbai’s old immigrant hub where the Chinese Jews and Farsis lived and Kamathipura the red light district and so he saw a very uniue Mumbai as eually vibrant and cosmopolitan as it was seedy and corrupt
And Manto’s stories not only live in that Bombay they defecate orgasm and respire in them In ‘Ten Rupees’ a girl who’s barely of age lives as a prostitute She sees men who are thrice as old as her maybe even and does whatever they want all for the sake of ten rupees And yet she also laughs she also dreams At the end of the story after seeing a client she throws away her ten rupees from her bosom and runs off seeing that the time that she had with this guy and her experience was important than anything money can buy In ‘Mozelle’ though the perspective is written from a male perspective it is a Jewish Indian girl who centres all of the drama Much like how Nick Carraway observes Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s eternal classic The Great Gatsby Trilochan is thinking about the girl he loved Mozelle wild full of excitement and ambition and yet the girl he ultimately married a wallflower who exists to please his parents He regrets his decision but doesn’t fully feel it until Partition occurs Trilochan goes to visit Mozelle despite knowing that Sikhs like him are being hunted Just as predicted a mob comes and is ready to lynch Trilochan on the spot that is until Mozelle strips herself of all of her clothes and literally throws herself down the stairs breaking some bones in the process confusing everyone who had to witness the scene In a less talented writer’s hands the story could have come off as incredibly sexist or gratuituous or in bad tasteBecause Manto wrote it the story is the right mix of funny ridiculous and somehow truthful Mozelle doesn’t just feel like a male’s creation She seems cantankerous zesty and unabashed to be the crazy she is She seems really alive Manto’s characters whether they are male or female young or old Sikh or Muslim are all completely their own They are imbibed with something much greater than the sum of their parts They are just as much their own beings as they are embodiments of Manto’s ever living energy and soul As I said earlier I can only think of Chekhov matching Manto in relation to both profundity prolificness and profusion However Manto’s stories are much gaudy much flamboyant and even much uncouth I’d recommend his work for anyone who loves the short story form and who wants to see characters who are not just a fantasy but a true representative of how fully life should and must be lived Rating 35 starsA collection of 15 short stories set in pre independence Bombay featuring prostitutes pimps writers thugs and the like Written in simple prose at least if you go by the translation the stories are by turns delightful moving and occasionally a little mediocre They also manage to be both frank and subtle which is an excellent achievementThe appendix of the book has three non fiction pieces by Manto which help us understand about himOn society and prostitutes in Women and the Film World Society produces prostitutes and its wide reaching laws foster their existence So why are they stigmatized why is their collective death wished when they too are part of society? If we want to transform them into something good then we will have to work to improve society as a whole As long as we don’t think with new vigor about how our society operates then in this so called era of culture and civilization there will continue to be prostitutes everywhere and this “impurity” will never disappearOn gender bias in the way society views men and women also in the same piece Our so called honorable citizens hold fundamentally flawed opinions about prostitutes in that their posturing is essentially no than a way for them to insist upon their respectability and dignity Men control society and take advantage of the power this bestows on them Society says that men always remain men regardless of whether they commit sins at each and every step of their way but a woman no longer remains a woman if she succumbs even once to a youthful desire or some other impulse or if she loses her way for a moment due to a man’s forceful demands She’s viewed with contempt and hatred and doors close for her that would remain open for menOn what he writes about in a lecture at Jogeshwari College So long as there is human weakness and especially so long as it exists in me I will search it out and expose it in otherswhen I'm sitting in a train and take out my new expensive pen just so everyone will look over in awe I get interested in my crassness When my next door neighbour beats his wife but she still cleans his shoes I hardly feel any sympathy for her But when she gets beaten up threatens suicide leaves the house to watch a movie so her husband must suffer through the next two hours of uncertainty then I feel a strange sort of sympathy for bothMy heroine is the cheapest of whores who works at night and sleeps fitfully during the day persecuted by nightmares that she's getting old and whose heavy eyelids are weighed down by years of missed sleep That's what I write about Her desperation her illnesses her anxieties her insults that's what I like that's what I write about not the housewife's pleasant banter good health and high mindedness Firstly my sincere apologies to all Manto fans for the following review This book was bad just plain bad I have never struggled so much to finish any book before this one I really don't know where to even big I have no idea why is this book called 'Bombay Stories' There was nothing Bombay about any of the stories Most of the them were so similar and repetative in theme all about pimps prostitutes struggling actors and directors pathetic parties and aimless drinking Agreed that these elements are a part of any metropolitan city but there was nothing really 'bombay' about it This book has miserably failed to bring out even the slightest essence of the city the writing or the translation most probably was so bland and basic it seems someone just jotted down the stories for the sake of finishing a book I really hate giving one star to any book and I try my best to give it the most stars but this one was just bad I would not recommend this book to anyone especially those wanting to get a real essence of the city of Bombay I'm always taken by a bit of surprise when Manto turns out to be the narrator of his own stories I don't mean that he's writing the story for us I mean when he up and directly inserts himself into the story – which isn't really breaking a fourth wall so much as letting us peek into his diary To sum it up his diary is rife with accounts of his crazy ass friends and street women They go out and do some pimpin' and drinkin' and then on his worst days tragedy will strike I think Manto's storytelling is easy and lightweight which makes for a favourable read I am however a little hard on content Manto will bring you to some interesting places for sure – the best thing about non English writers is when they give you insight on where they live of their culture how people are different and what histories lie in the setting so yeah Manto will take you to the bustling city of Bombay particularly where the lower classes reside It all makes for an interesting social scenery But a diary is a diary I would read about this and that happening and don't really come away richer than I started That's the distinction I make with Manto I think That he doesn't try to be deeper than what is and hands you stories that come with no real obligation to analyse A little difficult to describe what I think of him as a writer but yeah I did the best I couldMy picks based on resonance Babu Gopi Nath and The Insult Further amused by Manto's artistry Brewed in the cheap alleys of pre independent Bombay amidst the low lives and the pleasure seekers and the wanna bes these stories pick up the commonplace the everyday and make it shine like embers His effortlessness is envious When Hamid dropped Lata off at her house at nine that night he felt hollow The touch of her soft body was sheared from him like bark from a tree and he spent the entire night tossing and turningIn the course of finding a prostitute for a client Hamid becomes infatuated with the fresh Lata and spends thousands of rupees on her taken from his bank account without the knowledge of his wife Moral disintegration follows Early in the story Manto contrasts meticulous Hamid with the well to do client Babu Har Gopal who seems indifferent to filth in others or himself He ate off dirty plates and was unfazed His pillowcase was soiled and stank but he never thought of changing it Hamid thought long and hard but he couldn’t understand him He often asked ‘Babuji why aren’t you revolted by dirtiness?’Babu Har Gopal would smile ‘I am revolted But when you’re obsessed by it you see it everywhere How can you cure yourself of that?’Hamid had no answer but his disgust didn’t abateManto was obsessed by the colorful life of Bombay immigrants scrabbling to live on the edge He sees it everywhere He writes about prostitutes gangsters and every kind of hanger on in the film industry The stories are matter of fact; characters generally operate as best they can within the rules of the powers that be around them be they pimps or courts Almost everyone suffers from intermittant illness and many drink heavily; a few are drug addicts And yet the stories aren’t depressing; they say this is what life is People still love party dance laugh Many of the stories here drawn from a variety of collections published in his lifetime show Bombay citizens of all religions living side by side but a couple are from the time of partition and portray the terror and bloodshed Mano was Muslim and eventually took his family to LahoreSaadat Hasan Manto was a short story writer journalist and scriptwriter for films and radio in India and later Pakistan He was born in 1912 in a small town in Punjab and died in Pakistan 1955 an alcoholic The years that constituted his active writing career however were lived in Bombay and Delhi Manto was the son of a strict lawyer but he was an indifferent student and not cut out for the law He did finally finish university and became a journalist with the other writing roles developing later An irascible employee and editor Manto freuently moved from newspaper to newspaper or studio to studio as a conseuence of uarrels He also used frank language in his stories and fought censorship actions throughout his life According to the translators’ afterword his work is still banned in PakistanManto was politically aware but also skeptical One of the stories ridicules Communists in name only I wanted to talk about the development of Communist philosophy from Hegel to Karl Marx and the disuss the viewpoints of Lenin Trotsky and Stalin I wanted to tell her my opinion of India’s Communist Movement and to hear hers too I wanted to tell her stories of young men carrying Karl Marx’s books tucked beneath their arms with only one idea in mind to impress othersThen I would tell her about the young men and women who become Communist as a way to meet the opposite sex I would tell her how half the boys who join the Movement are simple put horny and how they stare at the girl initiates with eyes filled with centuries of unreuited desire I would tell her how most of hte girls are rebellious daughter of fat cat industrialists who read introductory books then become activemembers just in order to stave off boredomOf course some stories are successful than others but I enjoyed the collection very much It felt very authentic without striving to be so Manto himself is a character in several of them and he sometimes refers to this overlap directly The translators emphasize his role as the first modern Bombay author portraying the city as a place of anonymity that is both liberating one can be oneself and lonely no one notices whether you live or die The truth is that I’ve lived with dervishes and gypsies since I was a child I love them and can’t live without them I’ve decided that I’m going to stay at a saint’s shrine as soon as my money runs out Whorehouses and shrines I feel at peace nowhere else I’ll uit going to whorehouses soon enough because my money’s about to run out But India has thousands of saints I”ll go find one when my time comes’‘Why do you like whorehouses and shrines?’ I askedHe thought for a moment and then answered ‘Because there from top to bottom it’s all about deception What better place could there be for a person who wants to deceive himself?’ Manto is able to conjure beauty from the drudgery of Bombay;  the dirt filled puddles reflect the diaphanous sun light of a gleaming Bombay morning as the cast of outcasts who populate these short stories;  pimps and prostitutes artists and assassins as the lugubrious and the lonesome lurch from jubilation to mourning In his unflinching portrayal of the seedy under belly of Indian life  a break from all of the cliches and caricatures which can beset stories about India and Indian society Manto represents a truly original voice in Indian literature at times unrefined and coarse but with the eye of a true storyteller'Mozelle' stands as a particular highlight; a story where the heartless floozy sacrifices herself for a insecure Sikh man who she may or may not love and his fiancee The lead character whose casual indifference to any form of rules or decorum captivates the reader as much as it does Trilochan; indeed Manto's ability to circumvent norms is his key skill s a novelist Mozelle like so many other Manto characters defies any kind of convention indeed most of the female characters in his collection of short stories demonstrate this spirit of independence this disdain for classification Manto can turn the most hardened murderers such as Mammad Bhai into honourable men the most pathetic lovers such as Chaddah and Mommy into sympathetic characters as Bombay is transformed via the alchemy of Manto's prose into a city of million and one untold stories; of jilted actresses of prostitutes desperate for love lonely directors and naive revolutionaries Few writers are able to turn the waves of a woman's hair into billowing of smoke on the skyline or a woman's breasts into finely crafted pots; yet this is the magic of Manto who was able to paint Bombay in limitless number of harleuin colours  Bombay in the 1930s and 1940s reigned as the undisputed cosmopolitan capital of the Subcontinent Bombay Stories is a collection of Manto’s work from his years in the city Freshly arrived in 1930s Mumbai Manto saw a city like no other—an exhilarating hub of license and liberty and a city bursting with both creative energy and helpless despondency It was to be Manto’s favourite city and he was among the first to write the Bombay characters we are now familiar with from countless stories and films—prostitutes pimps lowlifes writers intellectuals aspiring film actors thugs conmen and crooks His hard edged moving stories remain a hundred years after his birth startling and provocative in searching out those forgotten by humanity Manto wrote about what it means to be human Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad’s translations reach into the streets and capture in contemporary idiomatic English the feeling that Urdu’s most celebrated short story writer’s work stories provide in the original

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