Yasmeen Premji’s book captures a simpler time
“Lalljee Lakha, an impoverished villager from the deserts of Kutch, who comes to Mumbai, makes his fame and fortune, and eventually becomes the city’s uncrowned cotton king.”
The story of Lalljee Lakha, set in the turbulent era between the First War of Independence in 1857 and India’s independence in 1947, is narrated in the book Days of Gold and Sepia by Yasmeen Premji, wife of IT czar Azim Premji. It is her paean to what was to become the great metropolis of Bombay.
Actor-director Girish Karnad released the book in the presence of the city’s glitterati on Wednesday.
Reading excerpts from her book, published by HarperCollins, Ms. Premji said: “The novel took root in my mind after listening to the many captivating accounts that my granny, my mother and mother-in-law gave me of their childhood. I was always fascinated by the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.”
When Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said her book deserved the Booker, she said: “I took 20 years to write this book. I am not looking at name, fame or money. I wrote the book because I had a story to tell.”
“I spent my formative and significant years in Bombay and was exposed to a gentle time where the city was not the thriving, bustling metropolis that it is today. I wanted to capture that period. I grew up listening to some extraordinary tales of some very ordinary lives. My decision to write a book came about after my father passed away two decades ago,” she recalled.
She concluded saying: “Someone asked me whether I had another book in me. I replied saying that it took me 20 years to write my first book. I have a book but not the years.”
Days of Gold and Sepia is priced at Rs. 399.