Opening Doorz Editorial | September 19, 2019

Opening Doorz to Marcellus Baptista and his over three-decade old column ‘Merry-Go-Round’, that will feature here weekly from tomorrow, Friday, September 20, 2019. All those Baptista fans who were missing his dose of wit and also reminisce about Bolshoi, Darryl and Busybee, will now get that old time feel as the Bandra Bugger takes you on a spin.

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There’s always action wherever there’s Marcellus Baptista. This man will give James Bond a run for his gun!

Marcellus Baptista, who did a Diploma in Journalism at Xavier Institute of Communication (XIC), joined The Free Press Journal as a trainee sub-editor in the early eighties and after just a week on the morning newspaper he was transferred to the evening edition, Free Press Bulletin, a tabloid just like Mid-Day (which started much later). He was greatly influenced by Behram ‘Busybee’ Contractor who, besides his hard-core reportage, wrote a humour column, ‘Round & About’, in The Evening News of India from the Times of India group. Later, he took his column to the new paper, Mid-Day, started by Khalid Ansari.

Marcellus met Busybee at his residence at Churchgate when he was in journalism school and consequently they would share a drink together at the Press Club and events around town. One day, Marcellus tried his hand at the light writing style and discovered that he was good, even if he said so!

So he wrote a piece on a Remington typewriter (no computers in those days) at the Dalal Street office of FPJ and showed it to the Bulletin news editor Vishwanath Nair. He liked it and impulsively told Marcellus to write a column and write it every day; Monday to Saturday, much to the apprehension of Marcellus who thought that he would write perhaps twice or thrice a week. The name was decided by both and appealed to Marcellus who very much liked a ride on the merry-go-round at the Bandra Fair (he’s a Bandra boy).

The column ran for seven years till Marcellus left and joined The Daily. Again it appeared everyday for about two years. Occasionally, he has written humour articles in Mid-Day for special issues or occasions and also a light column called ‘Off The Cuff’ for Westside Plus that used to be issued with The Bombay Times.

Perhaps, now he is better known as a party journalist since he forayed into writing about nightlife and events around town for several newspapers. He is glad to get back into the ‘Merry-Go-Round’ mood and fondly recalls acclaimed artist and cartoonist Mario Miranda telling him one day that Behram ‘Busybee’ Contractor had told him that Marcellus writes just like him.

By the way, this is me Marcellus Baptista telling you all this!

Also Read: Purerose Baptista: 101 going on 102!

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