Bookish Witch

Faaltugiri and Other Flashbacks by Janhavi Samant

Blurb (as on Amazon):

A long, long time ago, much before Hindi films were called Bollywood and Bombay was called Mumbai, before cellphones and Internet- there were kids who had no gadgets and were left most to their own devices.
What was the world like for children in the ’80s? Full of faaltugiri for sure!
Traverse a bustling gully in Dadar with a Mumbaichi mulgi and witness her worthless attempts at cutting-edge socio-scientific experiments like collecting soap choora, pencil shavings,talcum powder, mastering the Bambaiyya language and her dreams of becoming a heroine.

Genre: Ninfiction/ Humor/ Memoir

Pages: 148

Format: Kindle eBook/Paperback


  • Kindle eBook:193 INR/$4.99
  • Paperback: 193 INR (on Amazon), 249 INR (MRP)/$10.98 (on Amazon)

My Rating: 4.6/5

With funny anecdotes from her childhood days, the author manages to give us a laughable and nostalgic ride into our own growing-up years. It is especially relatable for those born and raised between the late 70s to early 90s.

What I liked about the book:

-> The amazing humor, the sheer nostalgia-inducing incidents and a peek into middle class living in Mumbai in the 80s.
-> We all have a fair share of weirdos in our families, so reading about the author’s parents, neighbors, and extended family, makes us feel good that we aren’t alone in this so-called ‘normal’ world.
-> Some of the anecdotes, like the entry of a scooter, television, and telephone, into the author’s family, are straight out of our own lives (I mean the lives of those who were born in the 70s to 90s)
-> The illustrations with the text are extremely charming and quirky and add to the overall ‘goodness’ of the book.
-> I loved how through the book the author has kept people who played a pivotal role in her upbringing, alive. It is nothing less than a tribute to her father, and other characters who make an appearance in the book but aren’t with her today.

What I did not like about the book:

-> I wish the incidents/anecdotes would have had continued around life in the 90s as well. I guess that would have made it even more relatable for me (And those of my age who were born in the late 80s)

Quotable quotes:

->Boredom was such a way of life that we did some random things to entertain ourselves. Sometimes we would walk with chappals in our hands; sometimes we would sharpen our fingers in the sharpener.
-> I find breathing petrol-laced smoke entirely natural. I need temple bell clamor, enthusiastic noisy aartis, and train horns to tell me that all’s right with the world.
-> A vehicle is always a status symbol. It is the best way to show people that one’s family is now settled and moving up in life.

> People who feel they know everything, turn out to be very bad at doing things they don’t know anything about.
-> Aai didn’t let me grow my hair at all. For years she conned me by saying that cutting hair was the best way to grow it.
-> You should spend time with people more intelligent than you.

->Secularism doesn’t find many real-life practitioners.
->Today we communicate in an entirely different way. But the cellphone could never be what the landline was to our generation- an identity for the entire family, a single link to an entire ecosystem, all centered around one phone machine.

> My grandparents believed in conservation; they believed everything that had worn out or become useless could be reused for some entirely new purpose.
-> In those days, TV was a collective experience. It brought people together and it kept them arguing together. Owning a TV gave people a sense of power. Television was also a medium with the power to heal.
-> What you cannot conquer, you need to learn to compromise with.
-> Sometimes we have to live with the mistakes we make.
-> So much in the child-parent relationship is controlled by the choice of words. So much is conveyed not only through the meaning but also through the tone.

Check out the book here:


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