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"Random musings"

Bachu ki wadi

At the very heart of this city, so easily dismissed as central Mumbai, lies an old precinct. It bustles with energy that is typically Mumbai. Men and women making money, arguing bargaining, fighting, closing deals, making contacts… all in the course of business. But this place is different, business here is sex. The area is called Kamathipura and is supposed to be the country’s largest red light district.

As you walk into Kamathipura you are accosted by pimps who whisper “Chiniz, Nepali, South Indian… bolo saab kya chahiye?” They don’t really need to whisper, the truckload of cops stationed in Kamathipura 24x7 cast only a lazy benevolent eye on the goings on here, but old habits don’t die so easily.

There are many things in Kamathipura worth being written about but I really can’t grapple with deeper questions today so we stick mostly to food.

The reason for me to get acquainted with this intriguing place is food and… well booze. K’pura does very well when it comes to providing you with the basic necessities of life, sex and food. It is the only place this side of town where you can find daru way into the wee hours of the morning.

Far away from the hustle and bustle of the main chowk is a quaint little lane called Bachu Ki Wadi. Right where the lane starts is Bachu kabab center, if you are not too finicky about how your food is prepared and what was killed to make it, you will love this place. Trays laden with steaming seekh kababs are carried to the store from a kitchen somewhere in the bowels of K’pura. Thin scrawny men, heavy trays and the divine aroma of juicy well cooked meat. They have a very high turnover here at Bachu Kabab, sometimes the trays are emptied out even before they are properly set down on the counter. So well, sometimes you have wait till the next tray comes. What you can do while waiting is stroll down bachu wadi and take in the sights. Bachu wadi is a ‘mujra’ lane. There are two rows of single rooms that open onto the lane on either side. As you walk down the lane you will hear everything to the latest Keona Mitra item number to strains of “In ankhon ki masti ke…..” The rooms are ornately decorated(there is a wide range from mattresses on the floor to leather sofas), each mujra house has about five to six women and enough space to seat at the most a couple of customers. When the doors are open you may see a few drunk men enjoying personalised attention from six women, one or two of them dancing.

But then your olfactory alarms ring as you sense more kababs being carried to the store, you run almost tripping over a cat, slipping on a used condom, just to make sure you get your kababs this time;)
Trust me, the Kababs are worth it and so is the experience.

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