Dev and Neha Ghia in Saraswati Niwas adjoin a 300-year-old carved copse aperture from her grandfathering Chandrakant Shroff’s affiliated home in Khambhat, Gujarat. A affection exporter to Aden, Shroff already endemic Amar Bhuvan in this wadi, alleged for his grandfather. The brace authority four kites from Dev’s accumulating of 1,000 — these are 75-year-old Fighters fabricated by Raias Khan at BDD Chawl, Worli, who sometimes exchanged his creations for cigarettes. Pics/Shadab Khan
French Arch has as little to do with annihilation Francaise as Colaba’s Pasta Lanes with la bella Italia’s adorable dish. Constructed in 1866, this arch in Gamdevi is alleged for Colonel Patrick T French, British architect administrator of the BB&CI Railway. It retains a baby amplitude of aboriginal wall, association on either ancillary of which are afraid to apprentice of the colonel’s absorption in Indian musicology. French submitted essays analogue on the genre, like Catalogue of Indian Musical Instruments, to the Aristocratic Irish Academy.
“It was a adventure redoing French Arch absolutely 100 years afterwards it came up,” recalls 74-year-old Manhar Paradia of Chembur. On the engineering aggregation which widened and aloft the arch with pre-stressed girders in 1966, he says, “A fourth clue was added and allowance kept for new electric locomotives.” The Indian Railways Fans Club Association annal that back beef alternation assembly chock-full in 1970, the aftermost puffing out was Antim Sitara.
Close-up of the Theosophical Society allowance which blends all-embracing elements: the Greek allusion to above with the Ouroboros attribute of a serpent bitter its tail, the accepted Hexagram star, the Crux Ansata from Egypt suggesting resurrection, the Swastika and Om emblems
Reached from its Opera House bottom — flagged by articulation ability virtuoso BR Deodhar’s School of Indian Music — or axis in from Hughes Road, French Arch runs through two wadis arctic timeless. Paint-peeled 19th-century verandas beachcomber in 21st-century activity about the assurance “Kalamaharshi SL Haldankar Bridge, Low Level South”. Across north, Raghav Wadi was Haji Kasam Chawl till sailor Haji Kasam awash it to Bhatia banker Chhatrabhuj Raghavji. The 1950-established Patidar Samaj anteroom and auberge fronts the wadi which additionally witnessed the Goa Hindu Association’s countdown August 1919 meeting.
“Raghav Wadi was inspiring,” says amateur Sharad Wagh, actuality back 1942. “Our abundant personalities were portraitist Sawlaram Haldankar whose thatched collapsed you yet see, author Mama Varerkar arrive to the Rajya Sabha by Nehru, artist Mangesh Padgaonkar and Sudha Karmarkar who started the Marathi children’s theatre movement.” Stalwarts saluted, Wagh spins a chilling tale. That needs a bit of arena setting. The bungalow of bolt administrator and horse buyer Mathradas Goculdas was area his babe Sumati Morarjee grew to become the aboriginal woman of Indian shipping, branch Scindia Beef Navigation Aggregation and the Indian Civic Steamship Owners’ Association. In 1965 she abundantly provided a access to America, aboard the Jaladuta, for Swami Prabhupada, Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
Blavatsky Lodge, congenital at the French Arch alliance in 1928, belongs to the Theosophical Society of India. Started as a abstract movement in 1875 by Russian clear-sighted Madame Helena Blavatsky, the Society’s adage is: “There is no adoration college than truth”
Rumour followed a blaze in the Goculdas stables fatally afire some horses. Months after, bounded lads allurement a ganderi wala for sugarcane were shocked. The approach he biconcave to counterbalance their pieces was a horse hoof. Scared witless, the boys anchored to a cat-and-mouse Victoria. The duke that tongawala continued to advice them up was yet addition abhorrence of a hoof!
But, the arch has abundant embodied history too. Most beaming is Blavatsky Lodge, the Malad stone-encased 1928 home of Russian philosopher Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society. With Indo-Saracenic touches to its European bluff and a aerial bequest led by theosophists Annie Besant and Rukmini Devi Arundale, Blavatsky Abode boasted ablaze concerts.
Raghav Wadi, beneath one abut of the bridge, has been home to cultural luminaries of civic acceptation
A memorable 1934 appearance saw Jaipur Atrauli gharana avant-garde Alladiya Khan assuming with Abdul Karim Khan of the Kirana gharana and Faiyyaz Khan of the Agra gharana. This was a active art adda as able-bodied from the 1950s, with SH Raza, SM Pandit and KK Hebbar visiting AA Almelkar who helmed Nutan Kala Mandir — the art organisation started by painter GS Dandavatimath which had busy amplitude here. Almelkar was internationally acclaimed for The Almelkar Line, a tender-thin atramentous curve defining his watercolours. Today the abode hosts beginning ballerinas assertive en pointe at Tushna Dallas and babe Khushcheher’s School of Classical Ballet and Western Dance.
Across stands a beauteous Urban Heritage Award winner, an archtypical Maharashtrian abode from 1889. Jayantibai Raut’s bedmate Dr Sakharam Raut’s bashful LIC action adjourned the home bristles ancestors cherish, aged chandeliers and stained-glass windows intact. Dr Raut was admired abolitionist again for marrying a added with children.French Arch citizenry abstract from the din of casual trains. Octogenarian Amar Kazi at Jaya Mahal in Raghav Wadi refers to it as “background music”, preferring pleasanter memories —”Cars of governors and viceroys collection over our bridge. At Independence, we rode blithely lit trams from Opera House to feel the city’s action and happiness.” Indira Shroff in Amar Bhuvan is accommodated to her appliance afraid to abuse vibrations. Garment exporter Raju Sonpal vouches for two-feet-solid walls of barrio like Sarla Sadan, already acceptance to his family, alleged afterwards his mother.
View of French Bridge, which was adapted absolutely 100 years afterwards it was aboriginal aloft in 1866 and honours Col. PT French, architect administrator of the BB&CI Railway
Shroff meets me at the Dhurandhar home three floors beneath her terrace flat. With his nephews Sanjiv and Sushil, Dr Jatin Dhurandhar describes Amar Bhuvan as Jamna Niwas earlier. The gynaecologist sister of their physician grandfathering Waman Dhurandhar, Jamnabai was the Pathare Prabhu community’s aboriginal adult doctor. “She delivered babies of aristocratic families who paid her in jewellery,” says Jatin Dhurandhar. Dying young, she absolute the money from Jamna Niwas, afterwards it sold, to Cama Hospital for Women and Children.
At the hospital, I apprehend the applique acknowledging R1 lakh from Jamnabai Desai (her affiliated name) abreast her bronze in the addition committed to her dream. Dr Waman Dhurandhar’s added obstetrician sister, Jayabala, was the mother of ENT surgeon Milind Kirtane who consults on the aboriginal floor. Theatre analyzer Dnyaneshwar Nadkarni lived appropriate below. The architecture was alleged Amar Bhuvan afterwards Indira Shroff’s father-in-law Chandrakant bought out the Dhurandhars and alleged it for his grandfathering Amarchand.
Ketan Gandhi from Sarla Sadan abreast the triangular-topped bean colonnade of French Arch he would sit on during adolescence amateur of gully cricket. Labourers accept not succeeded in dislodging this aftermost alarmingly perched allotment of the arch wall. Pic/Atul Kamble
“No allowance of abundance is appropriate angled with addition and the floors camber slightly,” says Indira Shroff’s babe Neha, attractive at Saraswati Niwas’ Italian tiles, still bright from 1933. Spoken like an architect’s babe — Snehkant Shroff, her father, advised Juhu Vile Parle Development Scheme villas in the 1950s-’60s, featured in Bachchan blockbusters like Kabhi Kabhie. Her bedmate Dev says, “My pockets were abounding of marbles and I lived and breathed kites.” Datta Talchelkar in Shankar Bhavan adverse was his mentor, from whom he has affiliated 1,000 kites. “I captivated the firkee for Dev and we fell in love,” action Neha.
Shy rooftop romances were affably common. My aerial campanology with “So-and-so Kaka exchanged glances with So-and-so Kaki”, I achieve to watch Aapli Wadi. The documentary traces aggregate alluring and constant about activity in the lane: from aggregate commons and lath amateur to neighbourhood chatter about kids breaking windowpanes in able-bodied circuit of cricket. Added juniors bent burglary grass from Victorias for Holi bonfires got lashed with tongawalas’ whips. The blur was attempt at a Gudi Padva anniversary by music artisan Anant Amembal of Sarla Sadan. His ancestor Dinkarrao alien All India Radio’s orchestra and foolishly alloyed Indian classical with Western arrangements. He partnered Czech refugee Walter Kaufmann who immortalized AIR’s 1936 signature tune based on raga Shivaranjini.
I’m able the documentary DVD by Sumit Chaudri in Saraswati Niwas. Their ancestors firm, International Tyre Service, on adjacent Mathew Road, was set up by his grandfathering Suhrid of Calcutta, with his brothers Sunder and Surath. In fact, Surath Chaudri accomplished beneath Harvey Firestone himself in 1922 Detroit. Afterwards his ancestor Sujon, Sumit makes the third bearing helming the company.
“French Arch offers peace, with capital alley conveniences aloof a footfall beyond,” Sumit says, casual out from his aerial apartment.Few enclaves are adored by such amazing ordinariness. Amar Bhuvan heralds the one-tree cul de sac catastrophe at a appealing gulmohur. Rowed forth it, Shankar Bhavan and Sarla Sadan face Saraswati Niwas. “These four barrio are our world. We are appreciative and careful of them,” says accountant accountant Ketan Gandhi. Immersed in gully candid (a gaslight abject for stumps) in his childhood, he credibility to the triangular top of a arch pillar.
“I sat on it, apprehension my turn.” Teacher Bhushan Mengle has a beneath savoury candid story. His grandfather, Dr Mohan Mengle, was the aboriginal in 1940 to addressee Shanti Sadan on the added ancillary of Blavatsky Lodge. “The approach our assurance bounced into is now a dosa shop. Customers actualize a nuisance honking audibly to be served in cars. The wadi appearance has changed.” His affair echoes with Jagdish Rele, civilian structural architect with the Apple Bank in Washington DC, briefly in Bombay to baby-sit Asian projects. The Reles ahead endemic Shankar Bhavan and Sarla Sadan, advised by GA Kamtekar. “Returning afterwards 20 years, I anticipate how poor our accessible mentality is. Who can airing on footpaths accumulated with defecation and garbage? Vehicles ply the aforementioned bridge, so pedestrians are unsafe.”
Padmini Nayak in Parmanand Chawl, the almost contempo freeholder of 103-year-old Lokmanya Hindu Hotel, updates me on the area’s Udupis. Her grandfathering Ramkrishna Nayak came from Mangalore about 1915, authoritative Hind Vijay (currently Guru Lunch Home) his workplace. She remembers Mamma Mia Pizza was Manmohan Dairy, and SR Sweets was A-1 Laundry and Sun View, the Irani bistro hawking blush and white sweets kids enjoyed in a “Dus paise ka dus” deal.
How abutting French Bridge, Kennedy Arch and Sandhurst Arch are, was bright in the August 1983 collapse of Akashdeep architecture abaft Amar Bhuvan. “It came bottomward like a backpack of cards,” says Jatin Dhurandhar. “Thrown with his bed, John, a recruiting agent, flew assimilate Sandhurst Bridge, to survive the blast which claimed abounding lives.” With Dharam Palace on Hughes Road, affronted merchants of gem cutting units in Akashdeep allegedly threw accoutrements of banknote at anyone retrieving their chunk active beneath slabs.Diamonds in the dust, cavernous trains, horsy ghosts et al. This is area they appear calm — below-the-bridge wonders of “aapli wadi”.
Author-publisher Meher Marfatia writes fortnightly on aggregate that makes her adulation Mumbai and admire Bombay. You can ability her at [email protected]
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