The story of Rani and Wahida Rani’s family lived in one of the peripheral slums of the Basti called Prem Nagar Slums, one of the most deprived precincts and also the most crowded. The average monthly income of a family there barely exceeds 3000 Rupees. […]
An amaranthine city leaving its mark amatively. City of dreams now may sound old, yet it’s a city that never sleeps. I like to call “Bombay” more than “Mumbai. The charm of South Bombay is mesmerizing. You may love the new developments in Mumbai, yet, there’s love for old buildings in South Bombay. Malls are overrated, it still can’t beat the feel of walk by the bay, especially early morning. Food Court puts forth a range of platter, satisfaction comes over “chana zor garam” (masala beaten grams) or “Bhutta” (roasted corns) and a “cycle chai” at the Nariman Point.
Experience the early morning walk by the bay as we did on Saturday Morning and see the diversity of Bombay. View of Bombay’s famous necklace at the dawn, clear sky, flock of birds flying, dog relaxing at nariman point. Roads are empty. A part of road is blocked for kids to skate. Parking is in ample. Busy city seems less quiet, but not passive. People in Bombay are into some different world. You experience a flip side of them. They are not someone who are dressed up and ready to go office. Not in hurry. Some are just there to sit around the Arabian sea, some are jogging, some are exercising, some are doing yoga, someone is doing Surya Namaskar, some people are meditating, someone is supporting old-age with the wheel chair, many have a morning walk with their pets, Couples having a chit-chat, group of people gossiping over a local chai. Faraway in the sea, en-number of fishing boats are visible. I like to call its regional name “Naiya with his Khivaiya”. It also reminds me of a song,
“Chal kheva re kheva re naiya kheva, machli hai sagar ka meva…..” 😀 Hope you all have heard the song as this is not so famous or common. 😛
Marine Drive or Nariman Point (whatever you may like to call) is where Mumbaikars come for a few moments of freedom from the stresses of commuting, of high living costs, of cramped homes. It is a place that breathes possibility. Bollywood filmmakers have long exploited its majestic arc to show Bombay as a city that sets you free. Young couples turn their backs on the world, cuddling and kissing, unmindful of the throngs behind them, throngs who generally leave them alone. In claustrophobic Mumbai, where privacy of any kind is at a premium, Marine Drive affords anonymity. Here, at least, Bombay lets lovers be; in any other Indian city they would be routinely disturbed and harassed.
In such moments, what is missed is travelling in open double-decker bus. 😀
Recollecting few things I heard, Amitabh Bachchan would recall the time when he slept on a Marine Drive bench at night. Years later, many of his films were shot here. In one, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, he rode a motorcycle down the road, rakishly dressed and singing with abandon. It was a statement of having finally arrived, proof that having made it in Bombay you can make it anywhere. After all, as the song from the 1956 film C.I.D. goes:
“Ae dil hai mushkil jeena yahan, zara hatke, zara bachke yeh hai Bombay meri jaan.”
(Oh my heart, it’s very difficult to live here, be careful and be warned, this is Bombay, my love.)
The song subsequently became the de facto anthem of this tough metropolis.
The three-kilometre stretch along the waterfront extends from Nariman Point to Chowpatty, disappearing into Walkeshwar and, beyond that, tony Malabar Hill. The famous Art Deco, buildings, however, run only along about one third of the drive; after them come the gymkhanas with their open cricket fields, followed by a run-down aquarium, a modern tower block that is a hostel for female students, and at the far end, Wilson College, built in 1889 in the Victorian Gothic style. I have always been in love with this Victorian Gothic style construction of Wilson college.
This 3km stretch has been giving me mu space and time to make tough decisions of my life. Every time I am crossroads, coming here early morning or late night, makes me listen to my heart. Sound of waves brings me peace. I find myself lost amidst endless abundance nature of vast ocean. Love the smell of sea.
First Monsoon Rain is always very special. Yesterday rains drenched Mumbai and healing the burns of the summer heat. In the last week of may, everyday seemed to witness the first pre-monsoon / monsoon shower. I just went out to enjoy the rain. It was […]
Bombay has no bombs and is a harbor not bay. Today(1st May), in the year 1960, Bombay (now Mumbai) was transformed from a Bombay State to Bombay City and a capital of a newly created state Maharashtra. Life of the present Mumbaikar’s is quite different from the early one’s.
From Stone Age to Sultan of Gujarat:
Anyone living in Mumbai today knows Colaba, Mazagaon, Mumbadevi, Worli, Parel, Mahim as local places of Mumbai. But, did you know that once upon a time they were 7 independent islands. In fact, Mumbai has its mark since stone age. Later it was a part of Magadhan Empire ruled by the Ashoka Maurya. The empire receded and left the Buddhists monks and Kolis, whose stone Goddess – MumbaiDevi, gave its name to the current alpha city in the year 1995.
Mumbai changed hands many times. After Magadha Empire, islands were ruled by the Silhara Dynasty till the middle of the 13th century. Walkeshwar Temple, Banganga, Elephanta caves probably date from this time – under Silhara patronage.
After Silhara’s, King Bhimdev founded his kingdom with “Mahikawati” (Mahim) as its Capital. He was said to be from Anahilavada dynasty of Gujarat. Babulnath Temple was built under his patronage. He brought various communities from Saurashtra and other parts of Gujarat to Mahikawati. Later the islands were wrested by the Muslim rulers of Gujarat. The mosque in mahim probably date from this time.
Deliberate Twirl to West:
Portuguese explorer Fransisco de Almeida’s ship sailed into the deep natural harbour of the island in 1508, and he called it Bom Bahia (Good Bay). In 1534, Bahadur shah was forced to sign the treaty of Bassein (at present – Vasai) with the Portuguese wherein Bassein and seven islands were surrendered to the Portuguese thereby ending the Islamic rule in the city. By this time Portuguese had already possessed west coast areas of Panjim, Daman and Diu. With the treaty, they possessed Bombay and named it as “Bom Bahia” meaning a “Good Bay” in Portuguese.
They built numerous churches at the areas where the major population comprised of Roman Catholics. St. Andrews Church at Bandra is the only church that remains with the Portuguese style facade. Another church is the St. John the Baptist church built by the Portuguese in Mumbai. located inside SEEPZ, Andheri, which is opened only once in a year at present.
They also built forts at Sion, Mahim, Bandra and Bassien which can still be seen.
Dutch and the British:
In 1580, Spain invaded Portugal territories which opened the way for the Europeans to enter India (Possessed by Portuguese then). The Dutch arrived first, followed by the British. Portuguese had monopoly in trade in the 15th and earth 16th centuries. As a result, Battle of Swally was fought between the British and the Portuguese at Surat at around 1612 for the possession of Bombay(one of the seven islands then). The marriage treaty of British King Charles II and Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza in 1661 brought these islands into British as a part of a marriage dowry. Other 6 islands continued to be under Portuguese possession. British renamed “Bom Bahia” to “Bombay”.
In 1668, according to the Royal Charter of 27th March 1668, an agreement between British Empire and East India Company led to the transfer of Bombay(one of the seven islands then) to the British East India Company at an annual rest of £10.
Company then built harbours and warehouses for trade. Customs house was also built. Fortifications were built around Raj Bhavan (formerly Bombay Castle). The second governor of Bombay saw the opportunity to develop islands into a centre of commerce to rival other ports which were still possessed by the local kingdoms then. Various business incentives were offered which attracted Jews, Armenians, Brahmins, Gujaratis, Bohras and other communities. Population of Bombay rose approx. 6 times more in a period of 5 years. Ship building industry moved to Bombay from Surat.
In 1782, Hornby Vellard engineering project was started by the just assumed Governor of Bomaby – William Hornby to unite the 7 islands into one single landmass. The Bombay was connected to Salsette by a causeway at Sion, Colaba and little Colaba were connected to Bombay, causeway connecting mahim and bandra followed and so on. All 7 islands were merged to form a state of Bombay. Company built infrastructures like railways, Asiatic Society of Bombay (town hall), Elphinstone college, commercial banks, newspapers. All these activities led to the educational and economic progress and overall development of Bombay city. Victoria Terminus station (now CST) was one of the finest stations in the world then.
The concept of Dabbawalas originated during this period. Britishers in Bombay who did not liked the local food, set up the service of dabbawalas to carry lunch to their workplace straight from their home.
In 1950’s there was a demand from the United Maharashra Committee (Sanyukta Maharashtra Samiti) to create a separate Marathi speaking state “Maharashtra” from the state of Bombay with city Bombay (now Mumbai) as its capital.
On 1st May 1960, state of Bombay was portioned into the Marathi speaking state (Maharshatra) and Gujarati speaking state (Gujarat).
In 1995 Bombay was renamed to “Mumbai”, after Mumbadevi, a stone goddess of deep-sea fisherman.