My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hussain Zaidi’s Mafia Queens of Mumbai is a captivating summary of the lives of 13 women caught in the underworld. Despite being poorly edited, it’s an enthralling read that one can’t put down till the end. Though the book is non-fiction, Zaidi proves with his journalistic style of writing that reality beats fiction every single time. The stories are crisp and offer facts without much opinion or hype.
Zaidi knows more than what has come out in the book and the quality of the editing suggests some parts may have been struck out affecting the flow. For someone with keen interest in his work, they will find scraps of more info in his other books.
Coming to the actual story, there is little to be said except to be amazed with a tinge of sadness about what turns gentle, loving women into criminals.
This book is a real life lesson of what happens to women who seek justice, revenge or fairness (Ashraf/Sapna didi). It seems to encourage being silent and giving in to fate (Gangubai). It warns us that we could be innocent of crime and still be on the Interpol Criminal Database (Monica Bedi). And that Karma does not exist, one needs to fight for yourself and your family but even they may let you down (Jenabai).
If this book was a fiction, it would be easy to criticize the story, the lack of a happy ending or some kind of twist. I read on, despite the lack of coherence and flow, because sadly, there is truth to these stories. Most of my recent posts and poems are about crimes against women, lack of justice and Karma. Reading this book after such real life experience and after watching a Tamil movie Joker (Joker being the one who seeks legal justice) can be shocking. If it wasn’t for my hyper sensitivity to the subject of crimes against women, I’d go on to read other works of Zaidi for the true stories one can’t expect to be covered in daily newspapers.