The Chowpatty Cooking Club

Did you and your kids ever wonder what it was like to live in the Quit India movement days? Read this article about book The Chowpatty Cooking Club, if you marvel at the fervour and persistence of young Indians to seek freedom from the British.

the chowpatty cooking club review
The Chowpatty Cooking Club

The Chowpatty Cooking Club historical fiction book

Book published by Duckbill, an imprint of Penguin Books. The Chowpatty Cooking Club is one slice from the fascinating platter of the “Songs of Freedom” series. It has 144 pages and meant for middle-grade readers and teenagers.

Genre

Central characters and setting

Sakina, Zenobia and Mehul are the central characters. Like most teenagers of those times, the three friends want to help in the freedom movement but don’t know how to help. 

They live in the Girgaun Chowpatty area in Mumbai and their mothers run a cooking club to exchange recipes and try out delicious dishes.

In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi initiated the Quit India movement at the Gowalia Tank Maidan or August Kranti Maidan in Mumbai.

Patriotic passions were high and Mumbai was heating up with student protests, secret newsletters and a people’s radio station that broadcasts highly secretive news meant only for Indians.

The story references several landmarks of Mumbai which is great for visualization and context.

  • Book Title – The Chowpatty Cooking Club
  • Author – Lubaina Bandukwala
  • Publisher – Duckbill (Penguin)
  • Year of Publication – 2022
  • Pages – 144
  • Genre – Children’s historical fiction
  • Age group – 10 years above
  • Stars – 4.5 out of 5

What is the book about?

The kids feel let down by their mothers, who don’t seem to care about any of the revolutionary events taking place in the country. Yet turn of events gradually changes the scene.

The story shows the loneliness of families and isolation from their relatives.

People young and old were full of anguish. There was a strong desire to partake in the freedom movement. Innocent kids wanted to help in the revolution in their unique ways.

Moreover, this story provides a glimpse into the tight-knit community that struggled for liberation. There were differences to tear them apart, yet they chose to remain united for the bigger cause.

What’s noteworthy is the author’s portrayal of an India that opposed the British as a united front.

It’s an Indian children’s historical fiction book, set in Mumbai in the pre-independent India with the background of the Quit India movement in 1942.

Who can read this Indian historical fiction book?

The Chowpatty Cooking Club is not just a children’s book, it is also an informative novel.

Purchase it for the youngsters in your life, as well as for the grownups.

Grandparents will go down memory lane while reading this book.

What I like about this book is the friendship between the three friends, their conversations, intention, efforts, family dynamics and the portrayal of anguish due to uncertainty.

Author’s writing style

The author Lubaina Bandukwala has carefully narrated the sensitive and daring stories of teenagers during the Quit India movement. The Chowpatty Cooking Club is an interesting read, with a nice mix of emotions and experiences.

Her writing is straightforward yet descriptive and vivid. 

The author has used diary notes, letters and scrapbook elements to narrate the story. There are a few photographs as well that add visual elements.

Inspiration and research for writing the historical fiction

Author Lubaina Bandukwala draws inspiration from real incidents, family, friends and people who witnessed/participated in the freedom struggle.

She spoke to her father and mom-in-law who were young during the freedom movement. Sakina’s house is an inspiration of her mom’s ancestral home. Her conversations with her family elders about the freedom movement days are equal to passing on an oral history which she documented in her book.

Interview archives, books, radio records, conversations, blogs, newspaper clippings, etc. were used in her research. 

The author’s brother is a radio enthusiast. She was surrounded by radio equipment, antennas and the sounds of an amateur radio setup in her childhood.

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About Lubaina Bandukwala, Author of The Chowpatty Cooking Club

Lubaina Bandukwala is a former journalist and Indian children’s literature author. She initiated the children’s literary festival named “Peek-A-Boo”. The author has written several fiction books and anthologies for children. She’s well-known in the juvenile literary circle and among her reader fans.

Read the author’s interview here.

Children’s Books by Lubaina Bandukwala

  • Who’s Afraid of Z? Not Me!
  • Coral Woman
  • Rumble Tumble: Love in the Jungle
  • Leopard in Mumbai
  • Your Turn Now – part 1 and 2
  • Thank God, It’s Caturday
  • Let’s Do This Together: Math Stories
  • The Chowpatty Cooking Club

Conclusion:

This writeup is about the children’s Indian historical fiction book The Chowpatty Cooking Club, set in India during the 1942 Quit India movement. A great book for kids to read and find out what it must have been like growing up in those times. Feel the drive of freedom struggle and the passion that ran in people’s blood in those times. Additionally, reading this book will inspire young readers to take their citizenship with more responsibility.

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