Gaaliyon ki Raasleela

Social Commentary

Gaaliyon ki Raasleela

Illustration: Shivali Devalkar


am balancing a laptop bag, a camera, and a grave sense of dread while trying to stay aboard my guide’s motorcycle. We are at Khutainton Ka Rasta, in the labyrinth of criss-crossing streets of the Kishan Pol area of Jaipur, waiting to be insulted.

Kailash Gaur is the ruthless master of obscenities, the Pink City’s ultimate gaali baaz, the practitioner of a 300-year old craft. “Namashkaar, namashkaar,” he cackles with unusual warmth, gesturing for me to sit on a diwan in the verandah. Dressed in saffron, with a large tika on his head, Kailash ji is the keeper of what looks like the entire pantheon of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. His single-room residential quarter has a wide courtyard with a tulsi plant propped up in the middle. He’s a religious man, I assure myself, how sharp can his paan-stained tongue be?