I'm almost through with Rohinton Mistry's novel A Fine Balance set in the Emergency (1975-1984). It is pure Bombayana. Written with a mix of caustic insight and deep compassion, Mistry's prose is the most natural ever. He writes like an insider - hell, even makes Rushdie's work feel like an outsider's voice. Rushdie writes in awe; his love for the city is almost filial. Mistry on the other hand knows Bombay for the harlot that she is; his depiction of the city is steeped in amorous love with the whiff of loss looming large over the milieu he creates. It is for this reason that Mistry can write with greater acceptance and credibility of the city's tragedies than Rushdie. I'm on a happy track with the last hundred pages or so to finish. The whiff of impending tragedy is looming large. Let's hope I get through.