Fictional address: Khemraj Bhavan, Khetwadi 7th Street, Bombay

I have just finished reading Yeshwant Chittal’s Shikari or Hunter. It is a Kannada language classic set in Mumbai in the late 70s. I was delighted that it was a book set in Mumbai and thrilled when I discovered that he described places in the city beautifully and played a vital part in the story. Of the many places described in the book, one place intrigued me – Khemraj Bhavan. It is the Khetwadi locality of South Mumbai. It is a ‘chawl’ or a large building with several small tenements occupied by the working class. The leading character in the story, Naganath Maplekar or Nagappa, lives here even though he is relatively better off in life at that stage of his life. It is also the den where he retreats into. To know if he is the hunter or hunting, you will have to read the book, though.

Khemraj Bhavan is on Khemraj Road at the corner of 7th Street. The building is now called Jayant Villa with the original name written in brackets.

Khetwadi 7 Street

Here are a few images from the same lane from 2018 during the Ganeshotsav festival. You will notice an ad that says NKGSB Bank. The NK stands for North Kanara and GSB for a community from that district in Karanataka, the lead character and several of the people in the story are from that place and community.

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