Mafia Queens Of Mumbai – Book Experience

It is unusual for me to write about a book that too with a crime backdrop, primarily for two reasons..Firstly, I never had the time or luxury to express what I felt about a certain book.. if at all I manage to have sometime .. I generally pick another book from my long pending list.

Secondly, I’m a dream person.. I live in fiction. I’m an Alice in my own wonderland. I love talking about rain drops that stayed back from the last night’s rain. I imagine painting a house at the end of a rainbow. I love when life whispers in my ear while I’m busy with my chores.
Crime has never been my genre. Bloodshed, bombing, don , mafia , drugs.. I always try maintaining a safe distance from these words.

I can’t enjoy Sin City.
I like Tarantino’s work minus brutal scenes of Inglourious Basterds
If you ask me what is that red in color and runs in human body, I may reply you “communism”..The B word may not strike me.
Okay, I let you judge me.

“Mafia Queen” by S. Husain Zaidi(With Jane Borges) is one such book that helped me overcome both my excuses. As soon as i finished reading it, I had a strong urge to pen the strangled thoughts clogging my head. I didn’t want to pick any other book for sometime, so that I can enjoy the aftertaste this book had left in me.

With “Mafia Queen”, Zaidi sahab picked handful of Women Mafias and wove magical tales around their life. Though non-fictional in nature , this book is the ideal case of being stranger than fiction.

They were the women who lived the life on edges. They took feminism by their stride and ruled the dark world more like king than queen. Destiny landed them in filth but they fought the battle .. won some , lost many .. but all were still the winner, because they took charge of their life.

The saga of their life is disturbing and intriguing in equal measures.

The last time I was so deeply moved by any female character was “Laila”. The female protagonist in Khaled Hosseini’s “A thousand Splendid Suns”. The character etched so deeply in me that I almost decided to rename my daughter “Laila”.
With Mafia Queen.. I met 13 Lailas. All unique.

Foreword by Vishal Bharadwaj comes as a bonus.
“Crime is juicier than spirituality. Guns are more attractive than roses. And thus- at least to me- the stories about lives of gangsters are much more attractive than roses”, he says.

S. Hussain zaidi an acclaimed crime reporter, who made Vishal Bharadwaj change his newspaper every time he switches his job is unbiased yet every elaborate in his narrations. As he himself said , this book is not to glorify them(women Mafias). This book is an genuine attempt to understand the complex minds and the psyche of women criminal.

Gangs of Men are full of clones. Women are all unique. Same in life. Same in underworld.

Decoding Dawood gives you much insight how Chota Shakeel would probably think, but bootlegger Jenabai Daaruwali is remarkably disassociated with brothel Madam Gangubai Kathiawadi.

This uniqueness is what makes this book even more interesting. Each story is a puzzle unfolding in its own space.

This book is hard labor of extensive researches, interviews, document compilations, cop historians , reliable journalist and published news. The fictional touch to the narratives intrigues you through each stories. With journalism ethics of the author in place, he never sits on the judgement, but raises questions.

I cherished it so much, that I didn’t even mind reading line by line of 8 pages long acknowledgements. 🙂
I patiently heard Zaidi sahab thanking everyone.
“Thanks” I said to the author silently while I closed the last page.


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