Mumbai:Post the success of his debut fiction book The Vicks Mango Tree, Anees Salim launches his second novel, Vanity Bagh (Picador), a book that sketches the picture of a tiny Pakistan inside a big Indian city.
The book depicts how inside every big Indian city, there is a tiny Pakistan.Touched with a wistful small-town feeling in the midst of a teeming city, Vanity Bagh is a darkly comic tale, of how Imran Jabbari, inspired by the legend of Abu Hathim, aging don of Vanity Bagh, forms a gang with his friends called ‘Five and a half Men’in their mohalla of Vanity Bagh, and how they dispense a batch of stolen scooters to different parts of the cityand become prime terror suspects after the scooter bombs explode.
‘I have always been fascinated by the role of Pakistan in the Hindu-Muslim relationship in India. A minority of Hindus thinks all Muslims are pro-Pakistan and a section of Muslims secretly feels that they can empathize more with Pakistan than India. I wanted to portray this air of mutual distrust without employing a serious tone about the divide. And I think Vanity Bagh is a prototype of any Indian city’, says Salim who is creative head of Draftfcb Ulka Advertising in Kochi.
When asked if he had ever experienced discrimination in the name of religion, Salim said, ‘During the Kargil war and after the Mumbai terror attack, Indian Muslims were frowned upon. I think a minority of Hindusfeels that all Indian Muslims are Pakistan loyalists and belong to the other side of LoC.Such generalizations pain and anger me.’