Cover image for Bombay blues
Bombay blues
Desai Hidier, Tanuja, author.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : PUSH/Scholastic, Inc., 2014.
Physical Description:
550 pages : portrait ; 22 cm
Indian American Dimple Lala questions her heart while on a trip to Bombay, on which her boyfriend pushes her away to embark on a spiritual journey, her cousin tests the boundaries of tradition, and her sister opens up about her homosexuality.
General Note:
Sequel to: Born confused.
Reading Level:
HL 790 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

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Dimple Lala thought that growing up would give her all the answers - but instead she has more questions than ever. Her boyfriend is distant, her classmates are predictable and a blue mood has settled around the edges of everything she does. It's time for a change and that is just what Dimple is going to get - a change of of scenery, of cultures, of mind. She thinks she's heading to Bombay for a family wedding - but really she is plunging into the unexpected, the unmapped and the uncontrollable. The land of her parents and ancestors has a lot to reveal to her - for every choice we make can crescendo into a journey, every ending can turn into a beginning and each person we meet can show us something new about ourselves. Tanuja Desai Hidier's Born Confused gave voice to a new multicultural generation. Now, Bombay Blues explores everything this generation faces today with a heady mix of uncertainty and determination, despair and inspiration, haunting loss and revelatory love.

Author Notes

Tanuja Desai Hidier is the critically acclaimed author of the groundbreaking novels Bombay Blues and Born Confused , which was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and hailed by Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone as one of the best YA novels of all time.

Born and raised in the USA, Tanuja is a writer/singer-songwriter now based in London. For more about Born Confused and Bombay Blues , as well as her "booktrack" albums of original songs to accompany them, please visit

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The author of the highly regarded Born Confused (2002) continues the story of Dimple and Karsh in this complex follow-up. Dimple is now a student at NYU, where she has pursued photography with her beloved Chica Tikka (a nondigital camera), while Karsh has worked to establish himself as a DJ: He was the ears, I was the eyes . . . hearing the beauty, seeing the beat. Their relationship is tested when they travel to Bombay for the wedding of Dimple's cousin. Karsh thinks he knows the journey he is beginning success as a DJ in the land of his deceased father while Dimple is searching for home, for the real India, for the soul of Bombay (referred to as Mumbai when discussed in the negative), and for a better understanding of herself. Because of Dimple's photographer's eye, this is a book rich in colors and images, though sometimes overwhelming in volume. Dimple's introspection is vividly experienced by a free-association narration that places the reader deep in her head. Answers are difficult to decipher, but the journey continues.--Dean, Kara Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Dimple Lala, the Indian-American shutterbug whose teenage identity crisis and romance with the deejay Karsh were chronicled in Born Confused (2002), returns in this lovingly detailed homage to Bombay. As Dimple and Karsh arrive in India-she for her cousin Sangita's wedding, he to find closure after the death of his father and to break into the local club scene-they become increasingly estranged. Hidier's eye for awkward moments of cultural collision remains strong, as demonstrated in the cringe-inducing scene when the expatriate Karsh attempts to play traditional Punjabi music at a hip club more interested in electronica. When Karsh pushes Dimple away, seeking consolation in a religious sect, Dimple has a fling with a fellow photographer. Meanwhile, her soon-to-be-married cousin is disappearing at odd hours, and Sangita's lesbian sister, Kavita, plans to come out to the family. Once again, Hidier delivers an immersive blend of introspection, external drama, and lyricism, though the densely allusive prose ("my avast went ahoy. I gave my family the slip, took that last ship, akinship to Chuim Village. Left the banks of sense for the undercurrent") may leave some readers in the dust. Ages 14-up. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-In this lengthy sequel to Born Confused (Scholastic, 2002), 19-year-old, American born NYU student, Dimple Lala travels to Bombay with her Indian parents and her longtime DJ boyfriend, Karsh Kapoor, to attend the wedding of a cousin, Sangita. As Dimple immerses herself in family, culture, photography, music, love, and a search for self, Karsh embarks on his own spiritual journey, which draws him away from her. Traditions begin to falter when Sangita abruptly announces she is not marrying but instead pursuing a burgeoning art career. Sangita's sister, Kavita, opens up to the family about her homosexuality. While Dimple struggles to understand her unraveling relationship with Karsh, she has a spontaneous sexual affair with a "Cowboy" she just met. The protagonist and her remarkably progressive desi parents help Sangita and Kavita's traditional parents accept the liberated lives of their daughters. Visits to Bombay locales, temples, and landmarks add vivid authenticity to this middle-class story of self-discovery. Dimple narrates the ups and downs of her spiritual, cultural, sexual, and social journey in a challenging, often rhythmic "blues" style of inventive words, elliptical phrasing, colors, music, and artistic references. While the previous book engaged and informed readers about the protagonist's bicultural angst, this work assumes a familiarity with Hindi terms, Bollywood references, indie music and musicians, and street-art culture that may perplex less knowledgable teens. Nonetheless, for Dimple, exploring Bombay becomes a liberating metaphor for expressing passions and establishing beliefs.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.