There’s plenty to take away from journalist-author Ravish Kumar’s life and body of work over the years, but one can draw inspiration from the most unlikely corners, such as his stories in A City Happens in Love – chronicling the little details of love and longing in the cramped recesses of big city life.
A City Happens in Love is a compilation of what Ravish calls “micro stories”, originally published as Ishq Mein Shahar Hona – a much-celebrated book among Hindi readers – this volume has been translated with a light touch by poet Akhil Katyal.
These gentle vignettes take us from the bushes in Nehru Park to the terraces of Nizamuddin and the rain-soaked Moolchand flyover to a rented house in Anand Parbat with so much ease, that even people who have never physically come to Delhi will have their hearts transported to its everyday beauties and devastations unknowingly.
A little dash of Calcutta nostalgia is sprinkled here too because Kumar’s wife comes from there, and if you’ve happened to read anything I’ve written before you’d already know it’s not something I’d ever complain about.
Giant metropolises have space for huge buildings and temples and tombs and bridges, but they often don’t have any place where lovers with insufficient means can meet and breathe without having to constantly look behind their backs. But Ravish’s words, accompanied by Vikram Nayak’s kaleidoscopic illustrations, remind us that love, much like life, always finds a way. And lovers discover umbrellas under which they can seek shelter from the sun, like a pair of ants finding refuge underneath a mushroom.