Book: Between the Assassinations

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DAY ONE:





HOW THE TOWN IS LAID OUT:

In the geographical center of Kittur stands the peeling stucco façade of Angel Talkies, a pornographic cinema theater; regrettably, when the townsfolk give directions, they use Angel Talkies as a reference point. The cinema lies halfway down Umbrella Street, the heart of the commercial district. A significant chunk of Kittur’s economy consists of the manufacture of hand-rolled beedis; no wonder, then, that the tallest building in town is the Engineer Beedi Building on Umbrella Street, owned by Mabroor Engineer, reputed to be the town’s richest man. Not far from it lies Kittur’s most famous ice-cream shop, the Ideal Traders Ice Cream and Fresh Fruit Juice Parlor; White Stallion Talkies, the town’s only exclusively English-language film theater, is another nearby attraction. Ming Palace, the first Chinese restaurant in Kittur, opened on Umbrella Street in 1986. The Ganapati Temple on this street is modeled on a famous temple in Goa and is the site of an annual pooja to the elephant-headed deity. Continue on Umbrella Street north of Angel Talkies and you will reach, via the Nehru Maidan and the train station, the Roman Catholic suburb of Valencia, whose main landmark is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Valencia. The Double Gate, a colonial-era arched gateway at the far end of Valencia, leads into Bajpe, once a forest but today a fast-expanding suburb. To the south of Angel Talkies, the road goes uphill into the Lighthouse Hill, and down to the Cool Water Well. From a busy junction near the well begins the road that leads to the Bunder, or the area around the port. Farther south from the Bunder may be seen Sultan’s Battery, a black fort, which overlooks the road that leads out over the Kaliamma River into Salt Market Village, the southernmost extension of Kittur.

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Next: Day One (Afternoon) The Bunder