Book Title: Mountain Tales: Love And Loss In The Municipality Of Abandoned Belongings
Author: Saumya Roy
Mountain Tales: Love And Loss In The Municipality Of Abandoned Belongings by Journalist and activist Saumya Roy is her first book. In this book, Roy discusses and explains the lives of often neglected rag pickers living and who work in the dump yards in the Deonar landfill of Mumbai.
The book talks about Farzana, a rag picker who comes from a family of rag pickers. Author Roy describes the difficulties, hardships, and emotions between each of them and their families beautifully.
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Not every day do they deal only with plastic or dampen waste but also corpses and dead bodies. There are trigger warnings in the review, but some gruesome incidents are presented in the book as this is a work of non-fiction. The poverty, absence of basic amenities, odd jobs they do to pay the loans, etc., have been explained that will melt the hearts.
As per statistics, the Mumbai Deonar landfill has been there for almost 122 years and houses millions of tons of waste spread over 314 acres. Surprisingly, some of these garbage dumps are up to 18 stories high! However, very little is known about him or the people who live there.
Attempting this kind of narrative that depicts the less known part of a famous city, with reality in mind, is a brave task. Kudos to writer Roy for taking up such a story. When I tried researching a little about her, I read something that surprised me. In one of her interviews, this debut author Saumya Roy, a teenage waste picker, writes about the life she spent for eight years.
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She shares few moments of happiness and amusing incidents when she found toys, snacks, jeans, gift wrappers, friendships, and love in the garbage mountains of Mumbai. And through her life, Roy unravels the truth about overconsumption, pollution, climate change, and how the most vulnerable people bear the brunt of it all.
The book, Mountain Tales by Saumya Roy is not just about the souls that live in the dump yards but also the reasons and circumstances that led to the disparities. She also explained the conditions like urbanization, modernization, etc., that led some lives to shatter.
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This is a powerful book that will educate many people who are unaware about certain lives in the same place we live. This happens to be one of those books that will stay in my mind for a longer time.