Dongri to Dubai

I just finished reading Dongri to Dubai – Six decades of Mumbai Mafia written by Mr.Hussain Zaidi.
I’ve always loved the reading about mafia, dons, drug cartels and other criminals and cime lords. I’m fascinated by what they think, how they act, counteract, retaliate, escape, hatch, move, dodge the law and their enemies etc. How they have a set of rules and how they strictly abide by them. Their lives are fascinating to me to no end. I could read volumes and still not feel satiated.
This book records the history of the Mumbai underworld from before the time of Vardarajan Mudaliyar, Haji Mastan and Karim Lala, who were among the first real big dons of the country and of Mumbai in specific. Vardarajan Mudaliyar was whom Kamal Hasan played in the movie Nayagan which is among Times top 100 movies of all times. Hussain Zaidi is impeccable in the way he paints the picture of each and every incident, encounter, meetings and dialogues. For one who understands Hindi and Urdu both, the narration is supremely engrossing, since it contains few of the dialogues in urdu. I had taken my time to savor and read the book over a period of one month. Although towards the second part of the book it was getting increasingly difficult for me to go slow on it and i found myself reading the book at length, sometimes more than an couple of hours which to a person with an extremely poor attention span is a LOT of continuous time on a book.
It’s been refreshing to say the least! Yes some of the details of the encounters and gang killings are graphic but i for one am quite inert to such details, and in fact in some instances like to read them in such detail since it paints a wonderfully clear picture of the crime scene! It’s hard to associate the word wonderful with something as gruesome as gang wars and crime scenes, but i shall stick to it, for in the details lie lots of stories and understanding of the psychic of the protagonists committing the crime.
He makes the stories really gripping not that reality is any far, but then you realize how those Bollywood movies about the underworld have those scenes and it is actually what happened. And all along i kept thinking that it was just a well thought out scene. This book reveals that the scenes were taken off from real life encounters. You’ve to read the book to realize just how wonderfully the stories of all the dons are threaded and how he tells the parallel stories of all of the dons.
I read this somewhere “Finishing a book is like saying bye to a good friend”. I don’t feel that for a lot of books to be honest, but there are some that I really do feel that way about, and this one certainly is among them.


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