No One Knows Where The Ladder Goes

By: Vikram Shah

The Bombay Reporter

May in Bombay is a hot, but not brooding month. Brooding would imply a sense of lurking, of watching from the shadows. May in Bombay stings you straight in the nape. Sweat trickles like little geckos down the small of your back, leaving a ring of moisture around the waistband of your trousers.  How do I remember that it was in May that I was first put on the Kaleja Khooni case by Rustom Kharabjee, editor of The Bombay Reporter? Well, it’s because I remember there were geckos running down my back when I got off the bus at Fountain, and walked to our dingy offices on the third and fourth floors of Ghazal Chambers. The Bombay Reporter was a smallish publication, but there was one group of Bombay men whose days would not begin without scanning its grisly pages: the film producers. This was the seventies, a time when Russy Bhai’s desi version of gonzo journalism with the Blitz had lost its allure. Rustom’s particular interest lay in sensational crimes. His other particular interest was in blurring the line between fact and fiction. That explains why his pages were a favourite with the men who made movies. The seed for not a few blockbusters was sowed when a producer would peruse the headlines with his morning tea, wicker-chair seated, in a Juhu bungalow.

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Butter Fingers

By: Vikram Shah, NLSIU

One evening, I ring Butter Fingers and ask her to come with me to exchange the tee she’d gifted me. Not to be particularly nitpicking, but she never picks the right size. Or colour. That’s what I like about her.

“You actually think I’m going to come with you to Linking Road right now? When Master is batting?” Who said rhetoric can’t be an art form.

“If I go on my own, then it won’t be your gift any longer.”

“I’d still have paid for it, fucker.”

“But if I pick up something else, which you know I will, I’ll have to pay for it. And then, you’ll have to give me the money if it costs more than what you bought me. Or, you’ll have to take some back if it costs less. Kills the gift feel, no?”

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Stroll down Sepia Street

By: Mrinalini Shinde, NLSIU.

The Colossus. The Mecca of urban glory. A city that never sleeps. A city that never stops. Where the stench of unfulfilled dreams makes a heady mix with the overpowering scent of endless hope. Money everywhere, in ways that its absence pronounces its dominance across the thoughts of the populace. A city fiercely proud of its homogeneity; a concentrated concoction that keeps adding unto itself, every single moment. I am not a Mumbaikar. But geographical proximity to the island has shaped a certain awe, warm familiarity and unadulterated affection in me. What a city. It could as well be a little self-sustaining planet of its own… Continue reading