Thursday, 4 September 2014

A French lady in Girgaon

Hey Everyone!

I'm back with a bang from a fairly long hiatus with lots and lots of retro news - folks, ideas are just buzzing and I can’t wait to put pen to paper and   for your perusal. However, let me make a start and arouse your interest.

A FRENCH LADY IN GIRGAON

A trip to Pondicherry  is  always a delight  but this time it was a double delight when I  pleasantly ran into Alexandra  Quinn with whom I had worked almost 15 years ago on an assignment  in Bombay which we both enjoyed for a year .

Alex, a French anthropologist from the University of Sorbonne, was on the lookout for a Marathi speaking person with working knowledge of French and an anthropologist like herself. My professor Dr Kamla Ganesh called me and asked me whether I would like to work with her. Not really knowing what I was in for, I jumped at it. Alex then explained to me that she had already done one assignment in Bombay couple of years back “Tracing the journey of the Dabbawallas” in Bombay. She literally lived their journey for two whole months before she wrote about them. Well this assignment was all about women who supplied lunch dabbas and snacks to all Bombaywallas who wanted to partake of home-made and good wholesome food. The category of women she selected was of a low to middle income group who were part of a food centre called KUTUMB SAKHI.  A large kitchen with all the amenities, this centre distributed food to different SAKHI kiosks all over the city but mostly the fort area.  Alex wanted to feature these women and their food culture as part of her PhD programme. So interacting with them, their families and getting acquainted with their lifestyles was the agenda.



Image courtesy here

Kutumbh Sakhi was run by Mrs.Nawalkar wife of Mr.Promod Nawalkar, M.L.A in the S. K. Patil Udyan  in Marine Lines - a beautiful park with fountains  and a greenhouse type  of semi enclosed area. This park had a dual purpose – a park for all both the young and old during the day and in the late evening   was used as place for quiet reading and study for many young students and working people for lack of space in their own homes. Many Bombay wallas will surely recall this green lung in the city but currently I see this place totally cordoned off. Not knowing what’s going on - whether redevelopment demolition or disappearance of the garden itself.
Soon Alex and I set to work. The first move was to establish a friendly rapport with the women for we were definitely going to intrude into their lives for the next couple of months. Not only their lives but their houses too. To get them to talk about themselves to a foreigner itself was a herculean task. And as an interpreter and a research assistant I had to put all my persuasive skills to test.  It was difficult but soon found that each of the women had a vulnerable side. Some were widowed young , others abused  battered  or abandoned  yet others reeling from the behavior of their own kith and kin – but yes all of them trying to make a life for themselves  through Kutumbh Sakhi. And FOOD.  I then realized that food can be such a leveler.

The environment was so lively and harmonious here. It was when the women met during every morning or afternoon shift that everything changed. There was bonhomie and cheer all around.  Many an amusing anecdotes were recounted and exchanged with zest and perhaps a little exaggeration all in good spirit. For me, it became tedious to translate every word to Alex especially the finer nuances of the Marathi language into either French or English as Alex’s English was not too fluent. So the dictionary was a constant companion! Occasionally Alex felt left out while we joked and I could see the frustrated look. But she was a good sport and we tried to do our best.

Many a times she wanted to visit their houses and most of the women were reluctant. I could sense this because of their living conditions. It was a sensitive issue but I knew we would need to push it gently.

What an experience it was - most of them lived in Girgaon in the different wadis –had to explain to Alex what a wadi was. She was fascinated with Girgaon and for the next one year had explored every bylane of Girgaon like no Bombaywalla had, I bet . The few multi storeyed structures which dominated the quaint shops selling myriad things, sweatmeat shops displaying the typical Maharashtrian fare especially eateries like Panshikars from where she would never return empty handed was a treat. She loved the crowds of Bombay, the packed trains, the street food, the roadside chaiwalla where she savoured “the cutting chai” and sugarcane juice walla , even the humble channa wala.


The entrance to Panshikar at Girgaon


Delicious Kothimbir Vadi and Ambache Panhe at Panshikars

(Both Images are clicked by Manjiri when we visited Girgaon together)

During the course of her research she was intrigued by the food rituals they followed especially according to the different seasons. I am referring also to the concept of the hot and cold food. At the end of her tenure she too was constantly questioning should I eat this or should I not. Their peculiar individuality fascinated her and she very rarely found two women to be alike and that was what was so interesting.  She loved the haldi kunku, satyanarayan poojas, the Holi festivals and the food which went with it. She became an expert at making puranpolis. Alex always wore Indian clothes while working and became a French chick only in the evenings.

On one of the visits to a family, we met a face reader who read her so accurately that Alex got afraid and ran away. She was amazed at the gentleman’s accurate reading of her life.
Alex had collected substantial data and was ready to weed out the unnecessary. She took away with her lasting and endearing memories.  
Our conversation at Pondicherry was only about Girgaon and how it was slowly losing its originality.

Today KUTUMB SAKHI kiosks have increased and so have their sales and it continues to serve the large community of Bombay with its wholesome fare. 


             Image Credit :Satish Bodas for rediff

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Of a sweet and a Sweetmeatmaker

                               “If you offer someone a sweet, the chances are they will smile
                                                And perhaps that is worth something”

This is exactly what happened to me on entering the famous mithai shop of Joshi Buddakaka Mahim, Kishore Purshottam Joshi, co-owner of the shop which belongs to the eighth generation of the Buddakaka family,who has been running this quaint  sweetmeat shop in Bombay since the 40’s from  the heritage building “Empire Mahal” at Dadar T.T.Originally from Pushkar, Rajasthan,the Buddakaka family had settled here for almost 300 years.Kishore Purshottam’s  forefathers in the interim period  moved to Jamkhambalia, a small village in Gujarat, from where their sweetmeat enterprise first began on a small scale, manufacturing and selling  sweetmeats door-to–door.They were the pioneers of the famous Indian sweet – the Mahim halwa.It was first conceived by his great grandfather in 1780s and proved a great success The enterprise grew from strength to strength with all family members’ full participation which can be seen till to date.

A man of spirit and conviction, Girdhar Mavji one of Kishore’s forefathers,knew where his ambitions lay  and dared to walk from Gujarat to Mumbai in the 18th century,to set up shop here. He explored the markets and decided on Mahim.Mahim in those days was a small village whose inhabitants included Kolis,Kharwas from Gujarat and many other communities who took to this sweet – technicolour translucent square pieces,made by mixing malt,sugar,wheat extract clarified butter and dry fruits, stirring them under heat for 30-35 minutes. The creamy liquid is then poured over wooden pads and stretched. The more it is stretched the thinner the layer.It is then sprinkled with dry fruits and left for four hours after which it is transferred on to thin butter paper to set.   
Why the name Mahim Halwa? Was it because it was made in Mahim first as the first shop was set up in Mahim, in Kapad Bazaar. Kishore Buddhakaka was not very sure how the name came about. And what of the name “Buddakaka? The name was probably coined  because of the respect given due to the founder fathers  who conducted the business from the shop at Mahim bundar.The customers called him ‘Kaka” Joshi,was the surname.They were all Brahmins from Pushkar who migrated to Saurashtra. Booming sales and success of the shop at Mahim subsequently led to the establishment of two other shops in Tardeo and Dadar T.T while the main manufacturing unit remained at Mahim.
“We have workers from Gujarat and Rajasthan for generations who have been specially trained in the art of sweet meat making. We look after all their needs like food and accommodation. In fact they are almost like an extended family. Some of them start as cleaners and slowly through observation graduate to the level of manufacturing the sweetmeats. We have about 30 workers now owing to recession, but still the demand is more.
A unique characteristic of this family unlike any other families having traditional enterprise is that the extended family comprising uncles and their children have all taken interest in this business despite alternate attractive career options and varied opportunities. Says Kishore “Some of my cousins are doctors and lawyers who devote time to this enterprise after  office hours  and during festive season  give their time for almost the entire  day. Women also help during peak season”


Image Courtesy : Click here

On entering the kitchen I found it spotless and odourless and one can’t tell that sweetmeats were made here all day. The workers are well looked after and that’s why they have been with them for generations. Adds Kishore “We are unconcerned about competition as we know those who like this sweetmeat will definitely buy it.Children are attracted towards it because of their attractive colours and the fact that they just melt in the mouth.”
The variety of Indian sweets is phenomenal and many of them are associated with specific events like marriages and festivals, they are also symbolic as gestures of good hospitality. Indian sweets are eaten anytime – at the end of the meal or as a snack, at celebrations at the start of new ventures in fact on any auspicious occasion.But the Mahim Halwa with its special flavor is unique with its special flavour and colour.Just as a trip to Bombay is incomplete without sampling its bhelpuri, pani puri and vada pau, a bite of this sweet translucent piece is a must.
A “sweet” enterprise for sweet tongues!!!!!!!       

Sunday, 22 September 2013

“Those were the days, my friend .....''

‘’Those were the days,my friend, we thought they’d never end, we’ll singand dance for ever and again so sang MaryHopkins,not so long ago.Yes, those were the days, the simple pleasures of life one enjoyed in good old Bombay. The Sunday morning jam sessions at the popular disco Venice opposite Eros Theatre,which was also a night club where Biddu,known as The Lone  Trojan belted songs of The Beatles, Trini Lopez, and other popular numbers and The Ritz which was also much frequented and popular for its conventional music and dancing. Sunday morning jam sessions were packed with teenagers as well as oldies. Age no bar. After a morning show either at Strand theatre or Eros, making way towards Venice was only natural. As sometimes the sessions began at 2 Pm. Really don’t recollect how we managed the finances but we always did manage within the group, with eats and colas as well. Life was uncomplicated, no strings attached just permission needed from home which was given readily. Mind you we did get home on time. Thus we worked hard to win over the confidence of our parents. Life was fun.




Image Credit : Biddus Orchestra Niravna Vinyl Cover from here 

Sometimes for a change we went to hear Usha Iyer (Utthap) sing in her deep throated voice at The Talk Of The Town the catchy numbers of the time. We loved the lyrics she composed impromptu which she sang accompanied by lovely tunes. I recollect she composed a song on the lambretta which had just come into the market, at the snap of the fingers and soon we were swaying to its catchy tune and amazing lyrics. Such was her spontaneity. Unbelievable but true a couple of years ago when I met her at an event in Bangalore, I dared to ask her whether she remembered singing a song about a lambretta and guess what she was humming the tune!



Image Credit click here

Image Credit click here

Eating delicious pastries and oven fresh mutton patties at Gourdon (which was near the current Asiatic department store) was a treat so also occasionally a buffet lunch at The Taj which was just Rs 50! Well how much can one eat. For the perpetual hungry collegians could anything be better than this. I know 50 bucks then was a lot of money. But splurging on eating those luxurious items  was like a new  lease on life. The famous Gaylord restaurant was also popular in its heyday with mouthwatering fare and continental food. The cream rolls and mutton patties at Marosa Bakery were a must when in Fort area. So popular was it that the owner once told us that Raj Kapoor used to visit it very often, travelling all the way from the suburbs. The fish and chips from Victory Stall  near Gateway of India, run by the Womens’ Wing of the Times And Talents Club was also on the agenda. How can one overlook another famous fish and chips stall beside the Taraporewala Aquarium.    

Image Credit : Million Mile Secrets


Image Credit: Wiki

Those were the  days when some of the prominent buildings like the Victoria Terminus, the Municipal Building, the Times Of India  were lit up to the tee during the Republic Day.Lorries would be organized by  (still don’t know) the residents I suppose of different colonies, at night, to go around South Bombay for viewing the lights. I remember going on one such tour with a group - most of them who were Parsees from Parsee Colony  and Christians and a few Gujarati families. Everyone was loaded with food which was exchanged and gorged till not a morsel was left. New friends were made without any qualms and addresses were exchanged for the organizing the same for the next year. En route there was much bonhomie, screaming, singing and cracking jokes. Honestly till minutes ago one did not know a soul and in the next there was embracing and laughter.There were no traffic cops to man the route nor any security since the return was always scheduled for early morning. Today this would be unheard of in the maze of traffic Bombay has developed over the years. With hardly any traffic in the mornings, skating down Marine Drive was sheer delight. The wind whipping into your face. It was a thrilling and an exhilarating experience as well.

A ride on the tram and atop a double decker bus admiring the city view was equally pleasurable. Long distance journeys by train were always exciting. One looked forward to the journey. The trains were spick and span and travelling by first class or in a coupe was a luxury where personalized service by the railways was assured. Linen was clean and starched stiff. Waiters in starched uniforms lurked around the compartments, however much you wished to ignore them, waiting for you to give them the orders for the next meal. Breakfast was on request “eggs to order” – the typical “ferang way”. I guess the colonial influence had still not rubbed off. Railway platforms were clean and were washed every day. Minimum tea stalls occupied the platform. Only tea and sandwiches were sold. The concept of vada - pau and other accompaniments was non-existent. The waiting rooms and toilets were clean and were fit for sleeping in case you were catching an early morning train or a late night train. Just like the railway platforms, the roads in Bombay were washed every day.
Hence walking was a pleasure. Eating was a pleasure In short living in Bombay was a pleasure.


Image Credit: Wiki


No doubt a burgeoning population and intra - migration has made inroads into Bombay’s undeveloped infrastructure but at least we can keep the city uncluttered and safe and make normal and everyday life saner!    



Friday, 13 September 2013

Bombay Duck - Love it or Hate it - Can't ignore it!

The Bombay Duck or ‘Bombil’ or ‘’Gatagte’’ as it is locally called is Bombay’s most loved fish. It is believed that it acquired its name in the days of the Raj, from being transported on a train The Bombay Daak. The term was then referred to as duck and has since remained. According to references Robert Clive first coined the name after he had tasted it for the first time.The Daak (newspaper) smelt of Bombay Duck as it has a distinct sharp, strong, smell.  

Image Coutesy :Wiki

It is found in the city’s coastal waters especially during the monsoon.The Bombay Duck  can be described as a lizard – like fish in shape   having a thin, longish transparent body,pinkish in colour and a considered a relish at any dining table offering coastal cuisine.  It is native to the waters between Kutch in the Arabian Sea and found in small proportions in the Bay of Bengal. Not every fish lover has acquired a taste for Bombay Duck. And many run away  from its smell. Its versatility can be seen by the different ways it can be cooked. Curried fried, in the form of fritters or dried. It is a delicate fish hence care should be taken so as not to overcook it .
When curried, a Maharashtrian special requires minimum effort as once it’s marinated, its soft flesh cooks on its own steam. The charm of eating it is when it does not break.Dried Bombay duck is equally tasty. On fishless days one can have a dried Bombay duck which is already salted and dried months before with soft rice (In Marathi my mother-tongue and the language of the original  inhabitants of  Bombay such a soft boiled rice is  called Kheemat) or made into a chutney with spices to be had with Bhakri (Indian bread) or curd rice.

Image Courtesy :Indianfoodbazaar

You can also remove the bone from a fresh Bombay duck  (a single one in the centre) and press it down with a weight, removing the water and frying  it in a tasty batter ------Bombay duck fritters are surely to die for. You can eat several of them  washing them down with a few beers and feni.

I recall the days when the ‘kolin’ (Marathi) 'masliwalli' (Marathi) or 'macchiwali'(Hindi) or the fisher-woman used to go from house to house with a basket of fish on her head carrying a variety of fish but we yearned to hear her call only for ‘bombil ghya,swaste ani taaje bombil’,( Marathi for - 'Buy fresh and cheap Bombay duck) only then was there a flurry of activity.All housewives would literally lean from their balconies waving frantically for the mere glimpse  of this precious personality to emerge from wherever and avail of the first pick.Then would begin the haggling Lovers of Bombay duck would buy not in kilos but in vatas , as they call in Marathi  ( a measure ) but the quantity that constituted one vata was always questionable.Naturally arguments would follow.Finally the sale would be completed with both parties contented.
Which were the communities that relished the Bombay Duck - the Maharashtrians,the Parsees,the Anglo Indians and the Goans. I remember  the days while returning by train from college the topic always centered around fish  especially  the Bombay Duck,in the ladies compartment. Each of them would compare prices in their own locality and the quantity sold vis-a-vis the prices at the fish market.Many of them would buy them from Sassoon Dock cheaply and then gloat  over the reaction of others.Such was the popularity of the fish . How can one forget the fisher-women crowding the second class ladies compartment with their fish baskets  and literally spreading themselves . And the prim  and neatly turned out office ladies turning up their noses at the smell emanating from the baskets as well as their clothes.The fisher-woman would  pass a rude comment while the demure ladies held their breath or put handkerchiefs to their noses.his gesture would further infuriate the ''kolin's'' in the bargain and then would start the abuses and the fights  . This is so typical of the Bombay  fisher-women. You cannot mess  with them!!      


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Irani Cafe - series of 3 posts

I have turned guest blogger on a blog called Sliceoffme written by Manjiri who is a food and travel blogger.
My first guest post is part of a series of 3 articles on Irani Cafes in Bombay.

Here's the link to the first in the series:
http://sliceoffme.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/irani-bakeries-still-soldiering-on/

The next post in the series is about two interviews Manjiri and I conducted with Agha and his daughters who own and run Cafe' Colony at Dadar Hindu Colony.

Shall share the links to the other two blog posts here as soon as they are up.


11th Sept'13

After a brilliant day in London with Manjiri at the London Review book store am looking forward to reading the books I purchased from this book store which is opposite the British Museum near Russell Square.
While I settle in with my cuppa and start reading ''The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable'' by Carol Baxter (Did you know that its' about the  first ever electric telegraph message sent in the world?) why don'y you read up my next post on Sliceoffme , it's an interview with Agha - the owner of a crumbling old Irani Cafe in Bombay city called Cafe Colony -
http://sliceoffme.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/irani-cafe-colony-an-interview-with-the-owner-agha/


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Bombay Taxiwallahs

Bombay's ubiquitous black and yellow taxis have been there ever since I can remember only their drivers have changed. Those days fiats and ambassadors were seen in large numbers. The taxiwallahs of yesteryear Bombay were mostly Marathi speaking from distant villages in Maharashtra  who came to Bombay to earn a living. They were polite, courteous and very protective towards their passengers and took you wherever you wanted to go without making a fuss, however circuitous the route was. Holding friendly conversations with them was a regular feature sans much probing. Generally a phrase often coined in Marathi ' kai haal chaal  chale ahe. The taxiwallahs seem to know everything about the city -----from politics and political agenda of various parties  to filmy gossip, to daily lives of the  passengers; he was a wealth of information. Many of the passengers would have their regular taxis  so they could continue their conversation of the previous day. Traffic was a smooth flow hence the focus was often not the road but observing the expressions of the passenger. Manouvring the taxi around was easy.  

With the influx of migration in the 60s and 70s to Bombay  people came  on business or with the intention of settling down. With them came others looking for lucrative jobs and among them were jobs as  taxi drivers . The change was  subtle that of taxi drivers changing hands . There were many Sikh taxi drivers who came from Ludhiana, Amritsar and  Jullunder with their kith and kin. They settled in areas like Sion and Wadala and other suburbs where cheap housing was available. They lived in ghetto like communities . Most of them were truck drivers also who drove both within the city and outside .Soon these settlements began to expand and one could observe almost every taxi being driven by Sikhs.  Many of them could speak Marathi but they didn't, others resisted vehemently . Thus began the clashes between the two sets of community giving rise to a mini gang war, causing disruptions in the long queues . These heated exchanges often took place  near railway stations, bus stations and other strategic venues .The passenger was totally confused . Gone was the bonhommie between the taxiwallah and the passengers . Instead there were sneers and swear words all the way.  As a college student I witnessed  several such heated arguments  and getting into a taxi of rival taxiwallah was always threatening. The Sikhs and the Jats ( by then they had also joined the gang) were rough and bulky  also rough in their language as compared to the puny local taxiwallah  for whom loud abuse was unheard of. But soon they were too hurling the choicest abuses !!! Idle taxiwallahs soon got into abusive habits  like gambling  and  eve-teasing . This was a major break in the relations between the passenger and the taxiwallah . There was no improvement in their behaviour . Occasionally one did come across a do gooder. 

The eighties nineties and thereon saw a spurt in UP and Bihari taxiwallahs  who are even more vicious, manupulative and abusive  though I have come across many who are so  aware of the situation in the city. I see many of them reading newspapers and holding discussions with like-minded folks . It is possible to hold a conversation with them on the especially on the trials and tribulations and the changing city scenario. Driving through the crazy traffic hour they have no qualms about talking on cell phones , stopping without the passengers consent for a paan from the roadside vendour  or gutka packet or even to use the urinal. Pelting Bollywood numbers from their stereo gives them a high  and one has to tell them to stop the infuriating music . 
Their mental makeup is so varied  Some sadists often peer in the mirror placed at an angle  to watch young couples sitting behind and the taxiwallah weaves his own fantasy and smirks wickedly . Others watching you with furtive eyes even when you are anxious to reach your destination. The Bombay taxiwallah is very very perceptive, mind you . He can tell a passenger from his talk and attire. One is always vary of him.  There are yet others who are helpful in calamities and crisis.   Their unions are powerful and can Strike during the most vulnerable moment and are always up in arms at a drop of a hat. Their territory is well defined and they have the upper hand if they do not want to ply in a particular area.They are rude most of the  times, moody at all times, and fleece you. So choose, folks want you want.
The Bombay taxiwallah, can we really do without them ----no we can't so endure  them and hire them as only can they lead you to your destination.    
(Image 1 credit : Blog ''karascene'')


(Image 2 credit :blog ''fortyredbangles)



Friday, 23 August 2013

Colaba Musings

Colaba in the 60's

Colaba Causeway was Bombay's elitist  area  in those  days.Even those living in far flung suburbs would head to causeway for an  whole day outing.The road stretching  from Regal cinema to Colaba market was a paradise for shoppers.Only a few shops lined the causeway of which  few have remained.But you got  everything you wanted.Majority of Colaba's residents were Sindhi's who had flourishing businesses in the area and owned shops. There were a fair amount of Anglo-Indians ,Christians and Parsis.
 The oil boom in the Middle-east saw rich  Arabs flocking to Bombay often luring the locals populace with their newly acquired wealth. This resulted in mushrooming of several seedy and cheap lodges near and around the Taj Mahal Hotel encouraging prostitution, smuggling and other anti-social activities One could see shops with desi-goods but if you wanted a particular foreign  item you could get it through the right contact.Smuggled goods were stocked behind some shops and under the staircases of decrepit  buildings and acquired only when the shop keeper was convinced about the customer.The more you frequented him the easier it became to procure goods, then sold clandestinely after a fair amount of bargaining.Cosmetics, fabrics like (American georgette  chiffon, crepes were a rage ,ready-made garments,denims (one could kill for a good fitting pair of  denim jeans in those days)  lingerie, electronic goods, exotic food items chocolates and toys  were fast selling item . And believe me they were on everyone's wish list. Foreign ships which docked at Bombay Harbour  frequently were another source from where goods were unloaded unchecked made an entry into the market. The type of goods and the variety and hordes of hawkers  you see now was absent, instead the promenade inside causeway was clean, uncluttered with lots of space to walk, browse and window shop

Few cafes and small hotels too were situated in between shops.Cafe' Mondegar and Leopold Cafe , the all time  popular joints were often frequented by the old and young.College kids and even us school kids from senior school haunted these places which was affordable with its sumptuous fare . Foreigners patronised them even then in large numbers. It was truly a vibrant hang out.An interesting feature of the causeway was that you had to constantly dodge the pimps and middlemen who used to pester the oil-rich Arabs for money openly. Young and nubile girls were compelled to  avoid these Arabs and their lecherous looks .Often they would follow unsuspecting young girls  till they disappeared into the dark by lanes of causeway.Parents would be petrified   if we mentioned we were  taking a walk down Colaba causeway. On hindsight why blame the Arabs  a few of us would also lech at the handsome foreign sailors who came ashore from their ships, donning their smart uniforms and caps also on the lookout for some fun and  frequented the causeway. The causeway was a wanderers delight!.Bookstalls with library facilities dotted the causeway and one could get MAD magazines, Archie comics and Playboy  besides some excellent classics. And we lapped it all up ! 

Walking southwards towards the defense area, there was Paradise Restaurant (still there) known for its chicken lollies, a Paradise special, and continental food.The fare today is still delicious --its Parsi food, fish and mutton cutlets. This restaurant was always packed with an Anglo-Indian crowd  as they devoured the continental fare of roast chicken and potatoes. Just before paradise, turning left was a quiet  tree-line lane with beautiful apartments and houses. Another turn to the right and one came across the most frequented theatre - Strand  which is defunct now. Strand screened the most popular Hollywood films like The Beatles- A Hard Days Night,Cliff Richards - Summer Holiday and The Young Ones and I recall seeing old Hitchcock films on  Sunday mornings. 

Strand was right in the midst of Colaba market which sold variety of vegetables and fruit (Both exotic and local).The market used to be flooded on  weekends. Fish was procured from the nearby Sassoon Dock. Fisher folk from far off suburbs would come with their baskets  by train from Victoria Terminus on the central line  and Churchgate station on the western line  to buy fish in bulk which I presumed was sold cheap when bought in large quantities .

Living in Colaba was considered prestigious and I luckily happened to be one  thanks to my fathers posting while in the Indian Navy. Living across the road from Colaba Causeway and across Paradise Restaurant in a narrow  lane were a block of residences known as Brady's Flats. Those were the idyllic days when  I look back now. It was  was pure joy just soaking in the fun-filled   life in Bombay which was peaceful, uncomplicated, less populous, free of violent crime and where  terrorism was unheard of.         

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