Crossword, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai

May 24, 2008

Classic Crosswords

I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with Crossword, the chain of bookstores around India. Before Crossword grew into the chain that it is today, it was a bookstore on the second floor of a building in Mahalaxmi. Parking there was impossible and climbing the stairs to get to the shop was a pain. One often had to park at a car park a little distance away and take a cab but it was all worth it. Crossword was one of the best bookstores in the city and carried everything from coffee table books to Archie’s. One could pick up a book and sit near the window and read, occasionally looking down at the traffic below. I remember the store having white and black tiles, just like a Crossword and promoting Post It notes which promised to make life 100 times simpler. My mom was cleaning her cupboard today and I found this bag and knew I had to post it. Bags from Crossword don’t look like this anymore which makes this picture extra special.

I distinctly remember their kid’s section. They used to carry a decent collection of 1:18 scale models which I would pick up from time to time. I remember stopping by at Crossword on my birthday and picking up models of a BMW 8 Series and a Toyota Landcruiser and going to Sea Lounge after that to have some cake. I was so tired after the whole thing that I went to sleep after cutting the cake, not before I had another look at the newest additions to my collection though. I remember another time during Christmas when my mom asked me to pick out a model that I liked, it all seemed a little fishy but then again I was just a kid and went along with it. Crossword had a Christmas party and Santa was chilling with all the kids at Crossword on the terrace of the building. I don’t remember the party and I’m sure it was a little awkward being at a party with people I didn’t know but I remember Santa handing me a gift at the end of it all, it was the Blue 1:18 Dodge Viper that I had chosen earlier. I already had a red convertible Viper in my collection but the blue hardtop looked super cool and had racing stripes across it, how could I resist? Coming back to Santa, Either he actually knew everything I was thinking(and whether I was naughty or nice) or he and my mom were buddies, either way I wasn’t too comfortable with the arrangement – but what did I care, +1 for my collection.

I also remember drooling over a slot car racing track for about a month and throwing a tantrum each time we left Crossword without it. It looked so cool, the kid on the box was so happy playing with it and I knew I wanted it. I read through the entire box every time I went there and always found out something else about it that was supercool and made me want it even more. Finally one birthday I ripped open my present that was pretty big and found a bigger version of the track that I wanted and I was really really happy. The next few days were spent reading the complicated assembly instructions and trying to put the pieces of track together though I never got to finishing more than 75% of the track. Each time I came close to completing the track I either got frustrated and lost interest or had to dismantle the track so that the room could be cleaned. The track now sits on top of my cupboard and I guess I should probably take it out some day and assemble the whole thing.

Another time I got something from Crossword was either another one of my birthdays or after an exam that I aced. I had just got a new computer some time ago and played a tonne of Need For Speed 3 and was a little bored with it. I had no idea what games were good and really chose everything looking at the cover – the cooler the cover art, the cooler the game – made sense right? Test Drive 5 had a pretty good cover and looked super cool. I spent about 10 minutes looking through the other games and finally decided that Test Drive 5 was for me. I went through the specifications and everything seemed to be OK. I got it home though and it never worked. I was able to see the start up video which seemed cool and there was this evilish barking when the developer’s logo was displayed. I could see how cool the game was but never got to actually play it. I was really disappointed – what a waste of a birthday/doing well in an exam!! Dammit!! I called Crossword and told them about the problem and after being transferred to about a dozen different lines a man at the other end just said Sorry. What actually had happened was that my computer didnt have a good enough graphics card or something like that and I was convinced that it did because of some stupid graphics demonstration video that came along with my computer. It wasn’t really Crossword’s fault but I was disappointed and needed someone to blame.

Coming back to the topic, the Crossword in Mahalaxmi no longer exists, Crossword now has a new logo and a new carry bag. I’m not sure whether or not they are using the space as an office but the bookstore is now located at Kemps Corner. Iv never been to the new location but it looks pretty fancy from outside and I think it even has a little Cafe inside. You can see people sitting on little chairs by the window and reading, I’m sure the view from the second floor was better though.


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