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A Karmic Short-Circuit In Technicolour

Paresh Kumar

Pan Macmillan, New Delhi, 2015, pp. 360 & pp. 352, Rs. 350.00 each


In 1931 sculptor Carl Milles cast Poseidon in 23 feet of imposing metal and the Southern Port City of Gothenburg, Sweden installed him atop a fountain as homage to the seas and their Viking past. About 60 years later a Swede left Gotaplatsen and the shadow of Poseidon behind him and travelled East until destiny brought him in front of another idol. 30 odd feet of garishly painted metal sheeting tacked to a bamboo scaffolding! Cut out to resemble a Sandalwood Hero with greasy black hair arranged in an elaborate coif. A painted on moustache slimly outlining a pair of sneering pink lips and eyes shrouded by cooling glasses. Cherub face powdered to an impossibly light hue this Southern God looked down imperiously at all. It was 1992 and as he stood flummoxed in front of Majestic Talkies in Bangalore a young Zac O’ Yeah was unaware that he had met his muse. Or that’s how I’d like to imagine it happened; a Karmic short-circuit in brilliant Technicolour. In reality though we know that Zac O’ Yeah first came to Bangalore from Sweden as a backpacker. He got off a train and stayed on for a bit in and around the area known as Majestic. Named after a popular cinema theater with the Railway Station to one side and the Bus Stand on the other Majestic was the kind of place where foreign travellers festered uneasily. It left a bad taste in your mouth and long after you had left it behind, the memories it belched back were far from pleasant. Mr. O’ Yeah dealt with Post Traumatic Stress differently—he fell in love. Something called him back repeatedly and over several stays he got used to roaming the streets and alleyways in and around Majestic Talkies all the while walking, shopping, eating and talking to the locals. He found it to be an easy-going place, a sort of home away from home. So much so that over several years he found himself married, writing and quartered in Bangalore and besotted with the area that the locals still called ‘Mezestic’ after the now razed to the ground cinema hall. This extended intercourse with Majestic resulted in the first Majestic book in 2012. Released in English as Mr. Majestic: Tout of Bengaluru this was followed by an equally lively sibling in 2015 Hari: A Hero for Hire—A Detective Novel. In August 1983 around the time the ...

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