Book Review: ‘The Secret of More’ by Tejaswini Apte-Rahm

A story set in old times re-told fascinatingly!

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The Secret of More by Tejaswini Apte - Rahm Book Cover

Book Title: The Secret of More
Author: Tejaswini Apte – Rahm
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Number of Pages: 462
ISBN: 978-9391047757
Date Published: Sept. 05, 2022
Price: INR 463

Book Review

This is a beautifully written tale set in early to mid-twentieth-century Bombay, full of fascinating details about the textile industry, the rise of “bioscopes” – silent movies – and talkies, and the journey of one family living through it all.

Three parts make up the narrative. The first part begins in 1899 and gives readers their first glimpse of the classic Bombay of the past, complete with people wearing dhotis, sadras, and dark caps. The main character is Tatya, and the First World War’s impact on India’s cloth sector is explored in the narrative.

Tatya’s astute business acumen is soon noticed by his kind teacher Zaveri, who suggests he go alone as a sales representative. From this point, his classic Bombay story of rising from poverty (or, in this case, middle class) to riches takes off. As was previously stated, Tatya’s tale initially takes place in the Indian textile industry during the First World War before quickly shifting to the silent film industry.

Tatya, on the other hand, is a cautious and righteous guy who respects Zaveri’s advice despite having enough business acumen to take some risks. But, alongside Tatya’s story and his life enriched by the world outside the family, there are the stories of women who have been cribbed, cabined, and restricted in different ways, their stories moving in the shadow of men’s stories. “The Secret of More” does just that, drawing you into the minutiae of individual people’s moorings against the backdrop of Bombay’s textile factories and the silent cinema period.

While reading the book, the flavor of the story reminds the readers of old Hindi movies that showcased Bombay and the life there. Undoubtedly, one can visualize Mr.X in Bombay movie scenes.

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The strong narration that author Tejaswini Apte presented in the book makes the readers instantly part of that city’s rich past while also intimately engaging in a family narrative as it unfolds. It’s almost as if the bigger platform and the interior worlds are both the warp and weft of an intriguing tapestry.

Overall, “The Secret of More” is a historical fiction spanning pre-independence and just-independent India, depicting business scenes, royal households, the silent movie-to-voice transition in theaters, the lives of women at various social levels, and other aspects!