Why had no one ever thought of writing a storybook about India’s freedom struggle from a child’s perspective, or why had I not come across one before this? These questions sprang to my mind as soon as I started reading The Chowpatty Cooking Club. The book is a story of how three children are fired up by the events taking place around them and jump in to do their bit in the fight for India’s freedom.
Set in 1942, in South Bombay, the reader is invited to step into a world that used to exist seventy years ago. Gandhiji had unequivocally asked the English to quit India, and as a result, all the prominent leaders had been thrown in jail. It was now up to the common folk to put their shoulders to the wheel and keep the momentum going. Three children solemnly decide that they must also become satyagrahis. They start with making flags but soon get involved in bigger things. The plot begins to thicken and before long the three friends become embroiled in goings on that involve spies, police, secret messages and a network of freedom fighters. Daring Sakina, gentle Zenobia and fervent Mehul plunge into everything with all the enthusiasm of the young.