I was born in Bombay and grew up primarily in Bombay and Delhi. Both cities have had a profound impact on my life, my reading and my cooking. My first menu for the Comfort Kitchen, the small scale cantina which I opened recently with my husband Kevin in Brecon, Wales, was inspired by both cities: kababs and rajma from Delhi, and to finish off, a delicate sweet coconut dessert inspired by tender coconut ice cream made famous by Natural's of Bombay.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
This book is no easy read in a sense, even though it flows like water running downhill. The subject matter is very personal for me, being an Indian woman, and it ripped my carefully sheltered life apart at the seams. This is the moment in my own history I began to question the status quo.
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
This one is a beautiful tapestry of intertwining lives. It’s hard to describe, the main characters are so very diverse! There’s an illegal immigrant in America, the remainder of old colonials in the Himalayas. A fascinating and heart wrenching read.
Five Point Someone by Chetan Bharat
This is a coming of age story set in one of the most prestigious campuses in India. It’s nostalgic and sweet and it captures Indian childhood and young adulthood in a way that hasn’t been done before.
Bombay Rains Bombay Girls by Anirban Bose
There is no city in the world like Bombay! This one tells the story of a small town boy who moved to Bombay for medical school. It’s like opening a window into an aspect of Bombay life the rest of the world doesn’t get to experience and a very nostalgic read for someone who grew up there.
Those Pricey Thakur Girls by Anuja Chauhan
This is the first of three books about the five Thakur sisters, growing up in a lovely old neighbourhood in Delhi. The word ’pricey’ is slang for high maintenance. And besides a strong storyline, this book speaks in the language of the people and of the times. It captures the change in Indian society as the economy opened up. It’s just a beautiful read.