As Covid-19 cases in their Mumbai slum soar, Meher and her family realize that they have no choice but to leave for their village in Rajasthan. With the ban on public movement, it becomes clear that they would have to walk the 900 kms, facing barbaric police officers, searing heat, wild beasts and indifferent deities.
A deeply moving story about family, survival and relentless hope, Homebound brings to the page the stark realities of those who have remained too long without a voice.
About the book:
For young Meher, living in Dharavi meant a life full of possibilities. Things were going well until the Indian government announced the world's largest coronavirus lockdown. Soon, her parents are left jobless and stand to lose all - their homes and their lives.
Praise for Homebound:
[Homebound] is homage to the resilience of migrant workers... This is the story of people failed by the social, political and economic system of the country.
[Homebound] reminded me of the journey of Offred from her dystopian reality in Margret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale ... The book, though written in the Indian context, can be a universal symbol for the saga of the resilience of migrants.
The writing sketches out grey areas that exist in the recesses of the popular imagination. The novel’s brilliance lies in the craft of fiction, the silences and the gaps that are tactfully created by the writer, the vacant pointers that urge the imaginative reader to fill in the blanks.
[Changoiwala] has endeavoured to capture the mass exodus of migrant workers to their hometowns and villages when the pandemic resultant lockdown hit the country last year. And this endeavour has resulted in perhaps the most important book to emerge from, and on, this dire time.
In Homebound, the march towards Rajasthan’s Balhaar is not imbued with a political motive, but it is a commentary on how an ill-managed lockdown proved hard for the underprivileged. Changoiwala handles the core of the novel, the migrant exodus, with sensitivity.
'Homebound' written by Puja Changoiwala explores the hope and resilience of migrant workers who trudged hundreds of kilometres during Covid lockdown in India, and those hundreds whom the long walk killed.
A powerful and humane look at the migrant exodus during COVID-19
In her fictional work, Homebound, Puja Changoiwala, captures the pathos of this exodus through the deeply moving story of young Meher, living in Dharavi.
The Hindu Business Line
The story of the long walk home is the subject of Homebound, a book that addresses the pain and devastation caused by the lockdowns
A heartbreaking true story about the year gone by, the book aptly captures the stark reality of millions of migrant labourers who trudged hundreds of kilometres to reach their homes. Hundreds did not survive the journey.