There is by now an elaborate-though largely unanalysed-history of representations of the metropolis in Indian life. As the complex site of modernist sanguinity, of Gandhian cautionary tales regarding the pitfalls of modernity, and as the ambiguous mise-en-scène of Hindi films-both threatening and alluring-the metropolis as image has constituted an important aspect of representations of the Indian post-coloniality and nationhood. And, when its presence is not directly figured in these texts, it attends the narrative as the improving efforts of the city-educated son come home to the village, the cynical glance of the allopath upon the wiles of the ‘traditional’ healer, as the ‘fast’ urbanised young women visiting the countryside, and as the national highway in films and novels which, every villager knows, leads to the urban beyond; like waitaal, the poltergeist from the North Indian children’s folk tale whose cunning keeps the hapless king Vikramditya in his unremitting service, the metropolis foreshadows post-colonial subjectivity as spectre, morality tale, and an allegory of possibilities.