An unfashionable address

It was a holiday. Downtown Mumbai was empty. The Family and I walked down a narrow lane where nobody goes any longer except to park their cars. Decades ago there was an open air concert area on the road, very popular for jazz and classical concerts. Then a court order banned open-air concerts within 500 meters of a hospital after 10 in the evening. That was the end of this place. I saw the gates closed. Next to it was a workshop, its shutters pulled down for the day. In the usual fashion of buildings in South Mumbai, it looked like it hadn’t been repaired since the Battle of Khadki. I liked the contrast between the shabby white wooden doors and the blue rolling shutter.

Right across the narrow lane is the back of Mumbai’s most well-known college (featured photo). It was shuttered for the holiday. These shutters were painted, clean, and in good repair. No moss grew on these stone walls. The high walls shut off the fashionable part of Mumbai from the shabby reality around it.

A low stone house seemed to hold some municipal offices. It was pretty down; tiles were missing from the roof, the stone walls had not been cleaned. Although the windows were recently painted, they were not in good repair. The municipality does not manage to do a good job with keeping the city in good repair, and this building showed that they cannot even really maintain their own offices. That’s a shame, because this is a charming building.

There was a chawl nearby. This was full of life, of people coming and going. I liked the sloping window shades that went right round the building. They broke the boxy shape of the masonry structure, and also harmonized with the sloping roofs. I hadn’t noticed this building before. But then, I had last walked down this lane before smart phones were invented.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


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