Amin Sheikh: "Bombay is for everybody."

I was at David Sassoon Library last evening to attend a short-notice replacement for the 8:45 play by EVAM that was cancelled because some communal duffers think Pakis shouldn't be allowed in Bombay. The panel discussion had little to do with the play cancellation - however I saw a glimpse of the solidarity that Kala Ghoda Festival participants are capable of showing in order to put such narrow minded and short sighted idiots in their places.

However, I ended up spending a bit of time with Amin Sheikh, who stood outside the library doors to market his autobiography and speak to passers by about it. Bombay, Mumbai: Life is Life, I'm Because of You is the name of his autobiography. The title itself caught my eye for obvious reasons. What also piqued my curiosity was the fact that it has been proofread and copy-edited perfectly.

In my short tête-à-tête with Amin, I disovered some of possibly the many aspects of the man. Amin Sheikh currently runs a car rentals service by the name of Sneha Travels. He also doubles up as a city guide and knows 5 international languages!

Largely a self made boy, Sheikh received help at his orphanage in terms of some education and moral support. I did not buy his book on the spot. However, unlike most who did not want to be harangued by yet another marketing gimmick, I couldn't help being entranced by the story of this man. I still know very little about him. In fact, all I remembered from last evening's conversation was him mentioning Kitab Khana selling his book for charity. I had to call them first, to ask his name and the name of his book, so I could at least write this quick piece.

Amin maintains a blog as well as tweets regularly to keep his supporters updated on latest developments on his book. Bombay, Mumbai: Life is Life, I Am Because of You is sold on Amazon as well as at Kitab Khana for charity. Proceeds of the book go to raising funds for Sheikh's dream venture Bombay to Barcelona - a library cafe which will in turn earn for his orphanage.

I think I'm going back to DSL this evening to buy the book. And perhaps have a more emancipating conversation with sheikh. About Bombay, about dreams, about fear, and perhaps about his lack of fear of calling Bombay, well, 'Bombay'. If anything, for the line in the book that says it all - Bombay is my heart, and I want to write my book with my heart.

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