First book on Delhi’s red light district

JK Bank

By Fahad Shah

New Delhi, India: There is no dearth of books on India’s capital city. Still some corners of this city have fountain of untold stories. Nobody Can Love You More: Life in Red Light District is the first book on Delhi’s red light area, GB Road, authored by journalist and blogger, Mayank Austen Soofi.

Austen is famous for his blog The Delhi Walla and the four guidebooks on Delhi published by HarperCollins India in 2010. Once a hotel steward, his first non-fiction book, Nobody Can Love You More has been published by Penguin India this year.

During Mughals, there were five kothas (brothels) in Delhi. When the British started ruling India, a British collector merged all of them into one area, and named it on his own name, Garstin Bastion Road, which is now commonly called as GB Road.

In the book, the author tells various stories within a story; he narrates about the women of GB Road’s Kotha No. 300 who raise their children and live with compassion and cruelties. The stories reflect their daily lives when they visit temples, shrines and mosques, when they complain about pimps and brothel owners and cook for their lovers.

The book is about despair and beauty at the same time- the darkness and brightness. It puts light on a subject which is invisible to common people. It also extracts stories from within the heart of ageing prostitute Sushma, of the owner Sabir Bhai, and the working girls. Austen depicts their lives in minutiae in the book.

In his blurb, historian and author, William Dalrymple, praises the book and writes that it is, “Sensitive, melancholic and sharply observant.”

The book will be published in United States also by Penguin US, informs the author- “The other day my editor at Penguin India sent a mail, saying, ‘I just heard that Penguin US is picking up your book.’” Austen writes on his blog.

Austen lives the day and night of this city and has reached out into its deep dark and bright sides. His love for books takes him to every bookshop. He writes on food, people, relations, emotions and books.

This book weaves the story of GB road with a fresh insight and skill of the writer. The book has already created a buzz amongst readers and promises to enthrall readers with a unique dimension of Delhi.

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