Ajay and the Mumbai Sun


Ajay’s is one of the Mumbai railway kids who live upon their wits and dreams. While Vinod has the skills of a chef, Yasmin is a talented illustrator. Then again, Jai has sharp cricketing talent, while Saif’s mechanical skills suggest he would be a superb engineer. However, Ajay is determined to make a future as a newspaper reporter on Mr Gupta’s City Paper.

However when an opportunity to impress himself upon Mr Gupta goes badly wrong, Ajay finds another route to journalism. It seems an old printing press and then his friends’ combined skills might create their own paper, the Mumbai Sun. What’s more, there’s a ready made story in their slum setting. What is the story of clearance notices that appear, are photographed and disappear again. Then again, what are the plans for the place where so many live? While Mrs Shania promises better housing for all, there’s something FISHY about the whole business. Ajay is determined to uncover the truth.

However, Ajay’s investigations come up against some tough and dangerous opposition that seems to lead to Bollygarchs and subterfuge. How can a slum boy hope to reveal a network of lies and exploitation?

Bookwagon recommends Ajay and the Mumbai Sun to our middle grade readers. From the outset, we’re caught up in Ajay’s plans and dreams, and long for him, and his railway friends, to get the breaks they deserve. Then we need to know what is really planned for the place where they live, and who is behind it.This is a really strong, beautifully realised and strongly plotted novel that will engage readers thoroughly.

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Ajay and the Mumbai Sun

Varsha Shah

(Chicken House)

Ajay’s determination is to be a newspaper reporter for The City Paper. Therefore, he uses every element at his disposal to engineer a meeting with its editor, Mr Gupta. However what occurs when they meet set the wheels in motion for Ajay and the Mumbai Sun.
It seems that setbacks can be opportunities. What’s more, Ajay’s resolve means he sees possibilities in everything about him, and everyone. Then again, he’s working alongside Jai, likely star cricketer, Vinod, culinary maestro, Saif, apprentice engineer, and Yasmin, whose drawings are ‘better than Mickey Mouse’. It seems it doesn’t matter that they scratch a living amongst the Mumbai railways, for there’s always hopes and dreams.
However, Ajay’s reporting strikes a story that suggests international ramifications. It seems the slums are to be cleared. Thereafter, can Mrs Shania’s promises be trusted? Then again, how does this operation connect to ‘shell’ companies’ and FISHY businesses? Furthermore, what does it have to do with the factory where Yasmin works?
Varsha Shah’s debut novel is quick to grab our interest and curiosity. What’s more, she creates such a realistic setting that we can imagine the thwack of the cricket ball, the sound of the Saif’s press and the smell of Vinod’s ‘lacy dosa pancakes‘. Rather like the classic A Single Shard, Ajay and the Mumbai Sun is a life- enhancing, positive and powerful story of overcoming adversity and standing by the truth. Bookwagon loves and recommends this stirring middle grade novel.


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