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They Don't Fit in the Pocket

I must have been in Class 7 when I read my first Hindi pulp fiction. It was a novel named Sile Huye Honth (Sewn Lips). The hero of the novel was Major Balwant who was a private detective and I had smuggled the thin book out of Dad's trunk of books. It was supposed to be out of my reach but I managed to get it out. So, I had to turn criminal to get to read my first Hindi detective novel. The name of the author was Colonel Ranjit but I didn't know that it was the pen name of Maqbool Jallandhry. I don't remember the names of the members of Balwant's team. But I remember that he had a dog whose name was Crocodile. The other thing I remember very well is about the monthly newspaper bill. There was this book stall near the bus stand from where I used to take a bus on my way back from school. Our household newspaper used to come from there. At the beginning of a month, Dad or Mom would settle the bill for the previous month - which would be roughly 100 to 120. But the next mon…