Mridula Koshy excels in describing smallness. But there are larger stories at work here — landfills of garbage and the tiny hands that pick razors from sludge.—The Hindu
Bicycle Dreaming is a comprehensive, tautly structured novel. At times it is claustrophobic, dwelling as it does in so many small rooms and garbage-clogged naalas. But Koshy always has an eye on the horizon, guiding us beyond the maidan and kooradan to a place where a girl could climb on a bicycle and ride away, feel the wheels turning below her, spinning and spinning into a waiting world. —The Hindu
From one birthday to the next, thirteen-year-old Noor watches as her family comes apart. Her father, Mohammad Saidullah, a kabadiwala, loses his job pedalling his bicycle door-to-door to collect household discards; he is forced to join the ranks of those who scavenge in New Delhi’s landfills. Noor’s brother, Talib, works in a call centre; his aspirations for a better life are a constant source of friction. When Talib leaves the family after his father’s further downslide into poverty, and their mother, Ameena, follows him, Noor sees it as further evidence of her mother’s preference for the son over the daughter. Noor dreams of riding a bicycle but won’t allow herself to learn. Not until Noor falls for Ajith, a Dalit boy, is she forced from her place on the sidelines to enter into the fray of her own story.