For four generations my family, nuclear and extended, have found their residences in the Central line of Bombay. To our right is the Western line and to our left is the Harbour line but I can safely say that all the four generations have not only stayed in the Central line, but also think central, eat central and well believe in being in the center. I am a part of the fourth generation and we are so central that I doubt anyone looks right or left while going from Point A to Point B.
Given a choice I would have preferred the Ghatkopar (where i stay) double fast train to Victoria Terminus but my subject chose Lokhandwala-Versova as its base. There is no straight bus or a train to get there. From my house to AKFPL office is one straight road of 16-17 kilometers. In the early days of interviews, while calling up the cast and crew, I would request them to give me a fixed time for interviews as I was coming ‘ALL THE WAY FROM GHATKOPAR’. It was the last call that made me realise that by now they all knew where I am from. Even before I could say my line, the person I was talking to said, “I know you are coming from GHATKOPAR”. In two years I had not quite realised how the request had become a threat.
The people we had to meet didn’t have typical office timings, their schedule was based on when their creative run is over for the day. Soon I abandoned my carefully planned schedule – instead of being set on fixing the time of appointment, I hung around till I could meet any of the people on my critical list.
If Versova is where creative people are than Ghatkopar is where creativity is in accordance to the trading done that day. Here a writer is the same as journalist is the same as writing memos is the same as a teacher training kids to write the alphabet. My daily run was an exercise in transition from people discussing Sensex to people discussing how to creatively portray people discussing the Sensex.
If Ghatkopar to Versova were the two places I travelled to and fro, than Wasseypur was the place I talked about the most.
“Gangs of Wasseypur” was getting shaped while we were giving finishing touches to our first book ‘Mother Maiden Mistress’. I had read snippets about it in papers whilst the production was on and I had imagined my own version of the story. Gangs, Wasseypur and Anurag Kashyap.
That I would be doing a book on it was not on my to do list.
The interview with Anurag Kashyap was on for our next project and it was in the farewell moment when we got an offer to see a few minutes of the film. And my heart shifted lock stock barrel with Nawazuddin Siddiqui to Wasseypur.
So physically I was covering two places and virtually I was staying in third place.
Whilst enjoying my stay in three places Ghatkopar-Versova-Wasseypur, reality had to get its foot in.
I met a Ghatkopar banker for a loan.
And this is how creative they get.
“My bank can give you as much amount as you want,” he said.
“That’s generous. Do I have to repay that,” I asked.
“In installments,” he said missing the point,
“So what’s your profession,” he asked.
“I am a writer.”
“And what is your annual income?” he asked.
If he were from Wasseypur he would have asked ‘how Dabbang are you?’
If he were from Versova he would have asked, “Do you write for film or serials?” and he would have known that writers have no annual incomes. They have biannual projects, or they hoped they would have.
And I imagined the banker’s response to that information to be a la Ramadhir Singh “Beta, Tumse na Hogga……!”