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Thursday, September 24th, 2020

Boarding Bandra Central: Reviewed by Brian Lobo


Mumbai ,   

J. Bob was obviously the most affable, agreeable man, you would have longed to encounter. He earned a modest living working as a tailor and built his reputation on his ability to hew, stich and sew just about anything, especially jeans. We do not know much about J. Bob and perhaps those details are not relevant because a person, no matter what they look like, their status in the hierarchy or where they live, becomes inconsequential, except the rather rare occasion, where those details lend itself to necessary scrutiny and judgement. But those details are unimportant because what determines the very person J. Bob is, is his overly complying, obsequious nature, to never refuse a customer.  And it is in reading ‘Boarding Bandra Central’ where we meet the ever-real personality of the humble tailor at Waroda, Bandra, who worked on Christmas and did everything to please his customers. J. Bob is just one of the very many characters that forms part of a forgotten history that lies hidden in a distant past. And it is through “Boarding Bandra Central”, where Edwin breathes life into the nostalgia and awakens the memory of the simple things, the people, and small pleasures that made life so meaningful. Edwin’s mastery with his pen, takes us through an era in Mumbai, now replaced by technology and consumerism, his days at the bank and his encounters with people which make ‘Boarding Bandra Central’ a rather engrossing, compelling read.


One of the things that makes ‘Boarding Bandra Central’ such an invigorating book is the sheer hilarity encompassed in every line. You will meet the leopard who did not just walk but rather

‘cat-walked’ its ways to the mall, you will understand the art of ‘keeping up with the Joshi’s’ and the real reason behind the offence of a rather irate customer named Luv Kush Singh. Edwin’s humour, mingled with his experience as a banker, a young lad, the average individual who languorously channelled his energy surfing channels on a lazy Sunday afternoon, brings alive everyday stories that are bound to leave you laughing uproariously. The book is a true testament of Edwin’s skill as a writer. He provides the reader with more than just a wodge of stories and extends his mastery to lines set in rhythm and meter, crafting his characters into the formal metrical structure.


Another perhaps unique feature of the book are the fillers included at the end of every story. They make up a mixed pool of stories/events and exist to break the monotony and flow of the book. These little fillers are short reflections of the author, his ideas, thoughts and even events that are narrated with wit and canniness but also a sense of poignancy that is evoked when Edwin describes the loss of ‘Personal Touch’ or the ‘Twilight Sonata’ of a bygone era.


Boarding Bandra Central, the title dedicated by Edwin’s beloved wife Sharbari, offers readers a sneak peek and insight into Edwin’s own mind as he challenges the notion of the stereotypical banker often viewed as being boring, staid people. From ‘Beyond Bandra’ to ‘Boarding Bandra Central’, Edwin takes you along his journey, his experiences, his fables and morals that are built in the very fabric of his jocular personality. It describes and recreates an era gone by and gives meaning and character to the much-loved personalities such as J. Bob. It ponders on consumerism and reflects on the small and simple things in life. Perhaps this is why Edwin’s ‘Boarding Bandra Central’ – is such a joyous, light read – it is the very embodiment of the author and his personality that rings through every sentence in this book. The holistic nature of this book its comic elements, satire and pathos make ‘Boarding Bandra Central’ a truly heartfelt journey that is “dizzyingly bewitching”.

Boarding Bandra Central by Edwin Fernandes
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