Author: Mukundan Rao
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143030205
An unusual novel that captures the reality of life in an urban slum . Deeply rooted in reality Chinnamani's world is a disturbing and penetrating yet frequently amusing look at life in an Indian slum.
Chinnamani is like any other eleven-year-old boy - he goes to school, he is passionate about cricket and watches movies on the sly with his friends. The only difference is that this eleven-year-old lives in a slum in Bangalore where drunken domestic tiffs often lead to physical abuse, little children are brought up by their siblings, fifteen-year-old girls are married off with fanfare because they are pregnant, and gods possess men to answer questions about the future. It is a
brutal world where men, women and children alike fight a daily battle against a miserable existence. Yet all of them have one common dream - the dream of a better life, of a day when they too will live in pucca houses on land which they can cal their own.
Enter Sumathi and Swami, non-governmental officials working for the development of slums, who tell the slum dwellers that they too have a right to the land on which they live. Chinnamani watches, intrigued, as everybody around him gets caught up in the dream of possessing their own home and, with the self-doubting Selvan as their president, unite to confront apathetic government officials as well as the malevolent and despotic Rowsy Muthu to fight for what should, in truth, belong to them.