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An unusual and interesting read

Dominic Alapat’s poems bring together the bits that make Mumbai

Wadala market. Ismail Yusuf College. Matunga. Andheri. The poet Adil Jussawala’s home in Cuffe Parade. The old VT station. To read Dominic Alapat’s poems is to immerse oneself in the many hidden lives of the people and places that come together to create Bombay.

Adil Jussawala (centre)
Adil Jussawala (centre)

Alapat has a knack of eliminating himself from the proceedings, of becoming a fly on the wall, of straddling his own public and private life here, and exposing them both in poetry that is sometimes playful, often deceptively simple, and almost always moving.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus formerly VT station. Pic/Rane Ashish
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus formerly VT station. Pic/Rane Ashish

What surprised this reviewer was how the poet John Betjeman sprung to mind on reading this collection, possibly because they were as rooted in Alapat’s milieu as old England was in the British poet’s work.

Consider In My Father’s Room, for instance, where ‘only the curtains moved gently, shaking slivers of sun onto the floor.’ Or Asleep, where a local train has a message for the poet: Dominic dice the moon finely, into a bowl, squeeze the sun onto it, crush a handful of stars, pour everything, into a glass, and drink Dominic, drink, till you begin to dance.

This is an unusual, interesting collection from a poet who deserves a much wider audience.

— New and Selected Poems, Dominic Alapat, Amazon eBook, Rs 198

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