It takes some time to adjust to the fact that he is an it. Standing on the second floor balcony of Mohammedbhoy Mansion at Kemps Corner,a lone figure,a bare male trunk,a mannequin,has over the years moonlighted as a landmark. That he has now achieved quirk status only makes it special.
The occupant in the second floor apartment,French entrepreneur Siddharth G,34,and his girlfriend spotted it during their walks around Colaba lanes. There were body parts in half. A store was throwing them away,just like that. So we picked the best parts and assembled it here,on the balcony. It was 2006,it has been here since, he explains.
Over the years,Siddharth has developed a way to introduce himself. In gatherings and parties,when I meet people,I ask them if they know this house by the corner which has a mannequin on its balcony, he says. So many people have their own stories,they have met beneath my house using the mannequin as a landmark, he laughs.
Siddharth,who lives with two cats Mowgli like in Jungle book and Nokia as in the phone,the mannequin is as much a housemate. While one neighbour gushes that he might have Parsi blood in him,another suspects the mannequin is mostly to scare the pigeons. Siddharth says its neither.
In France,when we place the national flag outside the window,nobody troubles you. When I came here,I placed a huge Indian flag across the balcony. It was full of Indian colours,bright. The police pulled it down the next morning. Now I have the mannequin, he says.
Initially,the expat took him along to all parties. Being French,I used to arrange parties themed An Evening in Paris. I used to place the mannequin wherever in the middle or someplace at the party as my mascot,my identity, he adds.
Siddharth made him wear a jacket and a hat the day Michael Jackson died. He wore a black jacket, he says,adding that there are days when the mannequin becomes a clothesline. While his mascot doesnt require much care,it does get an annual bath. Does it have a name? Its not a cat. Its a mannequin. Its just that, he replies.
While Mowgli and Nokia now are comfortable with the mannequin,Siddharth says he might take its skin off and give it a makeover. The white skin has been peeling off. I plan to strip the skin completely. It will then show a transparent body. One of these days,I will be giving him a heart,with lights inside. It will beat.