Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Visit Mysore, Ooty and Coonoor:-

Visit Mysore, Ooty and Coonoor:-

Take an early morning flight to Bangalore or Mysore and begin exploring the city early in the day. There are just a handful of sites you need to visit and it can all be completed in a day if you just begin early.

Here are some of the things you must do:

Mysore - 5 things to do in Mysore- DNA, 1st Oct, 2014

1.Mysore- at Mysore a must visit is the widespread Mysore zoo which is home to a wide range of species. It hosts six Giraffe's, African Elephants, exotic Birds, a white striped Tiger and even a Gorilla. Crocodiles, Snakes, four species of Monkeys and other two-four legged creatures can all be spotted here.

The park is huge and hence it does not really seem crowded as there are different sets of people spread throughout the zoo at all times.  You will need at least two hours to move around and take a good look at all the zoo inhabitants. At the zoo you are not allowed to carry any food items as most visitors end up feeding the animals. However, there is zoo eatery where you can pick and eat some small meals. Water is available at the many drinking water stations or you can also choose to buy a bottle of water inside.

It’s open from: 8.30 am to 5.30 pm and the entrance fee is Adults Rs.25/-Children (5-12 yrs) Rs.10/-.Do note the park is closed on Tuesdays.

2. The beautifully decorated, grand Mysore Palace built in 1921 is second on the list, the complete walk around the palace reeks of grandeur and royalty. From the beautiful paintings to the gifts received by the royal family to the porch area, all in all it’s just a beauty. The interiors are classic and exclusive Maharaja Style. Few may know that Queen Regent Kempananjammanni Vanivilasa Sanndihana, commissioned the well-known British architect Henry Irwin to build a Palace that would be a tribute to the legacy of Mysore and the Wodeyars.
Built in the Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, it is one of the most splendid buildings and is certainly a beautiful sight when illuminated on Sundays and festive occasions. The palace is open from 10:00 am – 5:30 pm and is located on Sayyaji Rao road.

3. While at the Palace, another interesting place to visit is St. Philomena’s Cathedral which is located at Ashoka Road and very close to the Mysore Palace. The then king of Mysore Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV laid the foundation for construction of this church in 1933. The cathedral has beautiful stained glass windows and two lofty 175 feet spires. The Cathedral also embraces a relic of Saint Philomena and just below the main altar is her catacomb. 

Photography is not allowed here and also inside the Cathedral, one can only take pictures of the fa├žade from the outside.

Built in the neo-Gothic style, the Cathedral was designed by a French architect, Reverend Rene Feuge. Its architecture is said to resemble the St. Patrick’s cathedral at New York and a church at Cologne in Germany. The Cathedral is open from 8am to 6pm and the Eucharist is celebrated both in the morning and evening. Once at the cathedral you need just about fifteen minutes to take a good look around.

4. Fourth on the list and worth a visit too is Chamarajendra Art Gallery. This gallery boasts of elaborate paintings and portraits of kings, ceramic, porcelain and glass objects that have made their way to Mysore from England and Japan and many other places too.
You could choose to skip this and head to the Railway Museum located at Krishnaraja Sagar Road if you have seen the murals at the palace and ornate articles don’t interest you so much. The museum has a beautiful collection of locomotives, photographs and paintings that display a chronology of the Railways history in India. Amongst the many engines and models that are on display, it also houses an Austin 1925 Railway Car. It is said that it was used for carrying inspection officials on track and could transmit around six people. It is the only one of its kind in the world still in running condition.

5. Built across the river Kaveri, Brindavan Gardens is your next destination.The gardens main attraction is its musical fountain where bursts of water from the fountain are harmonized to musical beats.

The garden is open on all days from 6:30 am to 9 pm and looks beautiful post sunset. It has many open places where one can just relax. Many lawns and ornamental plants also grace the park.


While at Mysore, Ooty is just few hours away.

1.  You can travel to Ooty which is just a 3.5 hour drive from Mysore. Stop en route to take a wild safari ride through the forests of Bandipur and Mudhumalai. Here you will spot the 20 tonne bison, grazing deer all around, a herd of elephants crossing your way or just brushing themselves against the bushes or even spot a tiger feasting on a fresh kill. You can spend around two hours at the sanctuary and then head to Ooty, stop on your way to grab a quick meal of either noodles, bhurji pao or else some garam chilli bhajias too.

2. Enjoy a panoramic view of Ooty, the lofty hills and grasslands while you jump on the century old toy train that goes from Ooty to Coonoor (1 hour). Here you get the opportunity to enjoy a lovely view of the valleys and pristine surroundings. All you need to do is book a train ticket in advance through the online portal or else you will have to head to the station at least an hour and a half before the train is scheduled and queue up for a ticket. 

3.   Also while at Ooty treat yourself to some yummy homemade chocolates- available at most shops all around the hill station. You could also visit the government tea and chocolate factory to see how tea leaves are processed. It includes the complete process from plucking to sipping some garam cardamom flavoured chai.

4.  Also visit Coonoor, just 40 minutes from Ooty. The complete journey from Ooty to Coonoor is graced with tea plantations and Nilgiri trees. You can take a walk through the tea plantations and breathe in some tea flavoured fresh air. Coonoor is also the turf for varied varieties of trees. In fact Sims Park sports over a thousand species planted over the years. Trees from West Indies, Texas and even Australia have taken root at the park centuries ago. At Coonoor visit Dolphin Nose (scenic view) and Kitty Valley, which offers a spectacular view of the hill station. Also visit All Saints Church and St. Anthony's Church spread across the hill.

5.   Some of the other places you could also visit include the Mukuthi National park (Deer), Government museum, Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Stephen's Church (Protestant) Stone House- the oldest British building in Ooty and Fernhill Palace a hotel now; it lies nested in the lap of Fern and Nilgiri trees. You could choose to stay here in this auburn colonial cottage for INR 11,000/- a night.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Soaring High: St Xavier’s- 145 years and counting

Soaring High: St Xavier’s- 145 years and counting

St. Xavier’s college which completed 140 years in 2009 continues to be the epitome for higher education. A coffee table book to showcase its benevolence towards superior learning and its many years of opulence history, takes one on a tour through these outstanding 140 years.

The beautiful photo filled book documents the rich history and the glorious 140 years. The coffee table book has been put together by Shabnam Minwalla and integrated with interesting images from renowned photographer David deSouza. The book titled, ‘St. Xavier’s College- Celebrating Diversity since 1869’ celebrates the heritage and deep dives into the colleges humble beginnings. It mentions that St. Xavier’s began in 1869 with just 11 students and since then this number grew to 15 the following year, reached 67 in 1880 and then 193 in 1890. By 1920, the number of students crossed the 1000 mark and today the college has a teeming 4500 students. 

Dr. Frazer Mascarenhas S.J. Principal St. Xavier’s College, notes, “This book documents the wonderful legacy: the heritage structures that form the setting on campus, the cultural and academic treasures we possess, the memories of enriching experiences and a taste of the contribution the College has made to the Indian society and to the world at large.”

A page from history also cites that it was only in the early 1800's that educational societies began to emerge and by the year 1850 the general movement for education was in full swing both for Europeans and Indians. The Jesuits visited Bombay, stayed on, glanced at the many opportunities that lay before them in educating the local folk and established schools. Some were set up within the fort walls while others dotted the seven islands. 

The Jubilee Souvenir adds, “At that time the Esplanade was one broad, bare space of ground reserved for military purposes since the time of the Napoleonic wars. On the Esplanade, St. Xavier’s new building was the first edifice to rise and it stood there in solitary splendour in the open space for some years, till gradually the courts, the Cama Hospital etc became its neighbours.”

Over the years, St. Xavier’s College has been consistently ranked the highest level award by NAAC and also features amongst the first five colleges in India by leading national magazine, India today for 20 successive years. It was also the first city college to hold a college festival, Malhar which has subsequently rubbed off to other colleges over time. Today the famous festival, which took root 34 years ago sees participation from over 1500 students. And more than 60 colleges participate in around 50 events.

Unlike many colleges that dot the city, St. Xavier’s is one of the very few and also the oldest college that specialises in subjects like botany, zoology, geology and the likes. As early as 1920 the geology department had acquired an independent status and St. Xavier’s was the only place in the city where students could work towards their MSc and PhD in the subject. The 50’s brought with them the first Indian principal Fr. Edward D'cruz and under his tutelage departments of Sociology, Anthropology and Psychology were introduced.

The college laboratories are a testimony to these many specialisations. They reap of fossils, stones and even fading leaves diverse and rare plant varieties. Many may not know that the science departments are among the oldest and best in the city and decades of nest hunting expeditions and cabinets of pressed plants, smirking skeletons and lab explosions have resulted in fabulous collections. Live snakes as well as dead iguanas that have arrived from various parts of India are also housed here. To assist students in pursuing their skill, Victoria gardens also presented the College with a lion cub, an Indian crocodile and a fox too.  Another work of art that adorns the science lab is the complete skeleton of a camel.

As part of the Honours Programme some students spend time sorting and tagging the many bones that fill the zoology department cupboards. These cupboards host the vertebra of a whale, the skull of a duck-billed platypus and even the skull of a tiger. Rebekah Athaide an ex-student who completed her honors few years back points out that the programme allows you to go beyond the regular syllabus. “It means you can get in depth into topics. You also learn how to actually apply learnt knowledge to current day and real life relevant issues. This hand on experience is good exposure. You can sign up for workshops or topics that you are interested in and the facilitators are specialized too”.

Students of botany for example, cultivate mushrooms and make field trips to observe season’s changes in the flowers of the forests, while microbiology students check the quality of water in Mumbai slums and zoology students work with the zoo authorities and attempt to educate visitors. Dr. Nandita Mangalore VP of the science faculty notes that, the honours program gives students both greater depth and breadth. She adds, “If one were to stick to the curriculum only; students will be never be exposed to research and what it can achieve”.

Another turf where students delve silently on varied subjects is the college library, which houses a collection of around 1,00,000 books. It was designed by Fr. Gonzao Palacios and dons the look of an "exquisite symphony in stone and wood".  It spans across 140 feet in length and 60 feet in breadth.

Away from the swarming laboratories, hushed library and hectic lectures, the canteen is the place where you can unwind and gobble away. The place is always abuzz; friends from different streams catching up with each other, discussing projects and the shouts of hungry food orders being given. Avril- Ann Braganza another ex-student and a journalist adds, “ When it comes to food, everything you want is under that one roof; pizzas, fried rice, biryani, dosas, pav bhaji, medu vadas, omlette pav, pastries, cakes, cold coffee, bhajiya's sweets, sandwiches... you name it and it's there! The memories are many, almost as many or more than the days I spent at Xavier's”.

Avril particularly reminiscences the foyer as the one thing St. Xavier's is also known for, she adds, she could probably write a book on it, "from the first time when I was a scared little junior, too afraid to step into the foyer to my last day when I went around clicking pictures of everything”. It was the place she would often head to either with a book to read or a crossword puzzle to solve.

The college has hosted many honorable and distinguished guests too like former President Dr. Abdul Kalam, his holiness the Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle along with many other dignitaries have visited the college over the ages.  With so much to offer its students, St. Xavier’s continues to prosper and the flying eagle, the college crest, keeps enticing her young to fly”. Fr Frazer Mascarenhas, asserts, “Seventy years ago, Fr. Gonzalo Palacios brought bulldozers and masons into a modest college and converted it into a grand institute, the alterations over the next few months will be quieter and subtler- but they could well transform a spirited college into a magnificent citadel of learning.”

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Tracing the City’s lost milestones

Tracing the City’s missing milestones

Its been nearly five years since I spotted the first milestone just outside Dr Antonio da Silva High School, Dadar on a busy footpath, where fruit and flower vendors sold their wares. Post taking few pictures and doing some online and ground research, I discovered that were many such milestones that dotted the city of Mumbai.

History notes state that Milestones are Grade 1 Heritage Structures and there are some 13-16 such milestones spread across the city. They were installed by the British some 200 years ago to denote the distance from St. Thomas Cathedral, the first Anglican Church erected by the British in 1718 at Horniman circle in Fort.

Many of these have been victim to the continuous development projects that have cropping up over the years. Either put aside or re-erected at some other location, uprooted or just disappeared over the years. Could they be stolen…? Although they stood tall at 5-7ft, the few survivors are buried under paver block footpaths, hidden behind hawker carts and stand at just a foot tall.

The first among these was the 0-mile milestone that was placed just opposite the Asiatic Library (Town Hall), followed by the others at Kalbadevi, August Kranti Marg, Lower Parel, Parel, Mazgaon, Tardeo, Chinchpokli, Dadar, Prabhadevi, Mahim and Sion.


In a story in the leading mainline daily, DNA, “Conservation Architect Vikas Dilawari stated that, “Milestones are small but important markers of the city’s heritage and should be respected”.

A list prepared by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority’s (MMRDA) Heritage committee catalogues 16 such milestones, including the one which has been uprooted and placed at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla. Not so recent news reports also highlighted the possible wipe out of yet another milestone located at Chinchpokli to make way for the construction of the monorail. Do you know what’s happened?

If you would like to trace these, get out and begin searching for them, the links below will help you locate them and if you need some more assistance do let me know. Happy to help!

Milestones in the news:
6th April, 2014- Mumbai Mirror- ASI may shift 200-year-old city milestone to museum
19th Mar, 2014- Mumbai Mirror- The mystery of the missing milestone
7th Dec, 2012- Mumbai Mirror- 196-yr-old milestone saved from monorail
13th Feb, 2011- Mid- Day - Mumbai's vanishing milestones

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Stepping into the blues.......Andaman and Nicobar Islands!

Stepping into the blues

Take a break from your hectic everyday schedule and step into the coral laden shores of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where the air is clean and the waters that surround you are pristine blue. The shores stretch endlessly exhibiting virgin white sands and the skies are gorgeous and clear for most of the year.

There is plenty a place to stay and rest your head. You can choose from a three to a five star beach side resort to a small shack that you can rent for a mere INR 200/- a night. Its best to book in advance, so you don’t have to worry about locating a fair price place, once you step into the blues.

Once you have reached the Andaman’s you are in the lap of nature and there is nothing you should be bothered about.

Some of the things which must be part of your itinerary are:

Radha Nagar and Kala Pathar are some of the many pristine beaches that you can choose to visit for a leisurely walk, sunbathe or swim. At Radha Nagar there are huge trees, ‘sea shore badam’ similar to a full grown oak that are spread across the shore.

At Port Blair you can jump unto a local multi colored bus and take a ride to Wandoor beach, it’s around 45 minutes from Port Blair. An auto would roughly estimate INR 400 for a one way trip to Wandoor while a bus ride is just a very small fraction of it. Do note, there is a bus every hour and the last bus to the city leaves Wandoor at 1740hrs. Wandoor is another white sand beach that does not sport corals but its coast is home to many uprooted and aged trees. It was also in the news early last year for a crocodile sighting, last seen- 7th Jan 2013, just a week before our visit.

Coral Island, Ross Island and Viper Island: 

All these islands are closely connected and you can choose to visit these at leisure, you would need at least 45 minutes to explore each.

Coral Island as the names suggest is not only littered with corals all over its petite shore but also has a beautiful coral bed- ideal for snorkeling. Here you will see coral reefs, exotic varieties of beautiful ornamental fish and other aquatic life.  Glass boat ride (where you are seated in a glass bottom boat and look down at corals and fish that come your way) Jet ski and water sports are the other activities that you could choose to complete your day too. Once you have completed your water sports you can fill yourself with some yummy low-priced Chinese noodles prepared just besides you by a long time settled Burmese migrant.

Such is the beauty and repute of coral island that it also finds its way on our twenty rupee note.

Ross Island bears the imprint of the British rule as it was from here that the English governed the gathering of islands. The island dons a British era water filtration plant, a torn down church with a burial ground just around the corner and also another unspoiled beach home to coconut groves. You can also spot a prancing deer, soaring peacocks and many other interesting birds that flutter around. Spend some quiet time here with your loved one and gaze at the open blue skies while the waves gently bounce along the narrow shore line.

Viper Island served as a prison for convicts and political prisoners, prior to the construction of the cellular jail. It dons the ruins of a gallows atop the hillock and bears an eerie resemblance of torture and death.

Shopping: Sagarika, Cottage Industries Emporium is the main shopping centre in the area at Port Blair and you can opt to buy varied knick-knacks and Andaman and Nicobar memorabilia here. Do note you can also buy similar objects along the stalls that grace the shores of all beaches you visit and also at a bargain.

A page from the Indian freedom struggle: An important place which finds a place in our history texts is the infamous Cellular Jail, the area is also known to many as kala paani.  Book yourself an evening show which takes you down memory lane and offers you a walk through on the shocking history of the prison and how prisoners from all over India were shipped to this jail. A sound and light show at the Cellular Jail, brings to life the brave account of the Indian freedom struggle.

Fisheries (Marine) Museum: As you may not get a chance to swim (snorkel/dive) past all the fish in the Andaman seas, you could visit the marine life museum and gawk at many of the beautiful corals and fish that make the Andaman and Nicobar Islands their home

If you have booked a honeymoon package leave it to your tour guide and he/she will ferry you around.  We did check for the best package and finally settled in for a lucrative package with Andaman Island Travels (P) Ltd. We were able to strike a good deal, going back and forth on our package and managed to squeeze in some freebies, water sports and few other activities added to our package as well.

You could choose the below activities as optional as they are not much of interest once you covered the ones above:

  Corbyn’s Cove Beach - 9 kms from Port Blair – which is bordered with coconut palms and littered with big and small corals
   Fish museum which is on the way to Wandoor beach
-    If your package also includes the Anthropological Museum you could choose to skip this too if anthropology does not interest you. The museum showcases the life of the tribal’s that inhabit the islands, out of a total 572 islands only 36-38 are inhabited
-  Chatham Saw Mill- claims to be one of the oldest and largest saw mills in Asia and is spread across a wide area with huge tree trunks that lies strewn around. It also sports a museum and is worth a quick visit
-  Naval Marine Museum (Samudrika)
- Andaman Water Sports Complex you can miss this too- if water sports is part of your itinerary

Although Port Blair is your main touchdown point for coming into the island and exiting it, do spend more time at Havelock than Port Blair. As Havelock is where you will find a string of resorts that border the Andaman seas and many tourists settle down here. Havelock in particular also boasts of numerous cyber cafes as it hosts many foreigners. If you can spend some more days at the Havelock, you can complete a Scuba diving course at Barefoot Scuba Resort or even enroll for a specialty training course as well.

At Havelock most of the locals and tourist ferry around on two wheelers, you could rent a cycle for INR 100/- for 24 hrs by paying a deposit of INR 500  or else hire a scooty too and enjoy a lazy ride through the winding road and market area. You can grab a coconut milk shake and some fresh fruit juice just besides the busy market that trades fruit and veggies from the days produce. 

Beer is also discounted and every restaurant nook serves fish fry or even a sea food platter. You can also munch on the Andaman fried chicken eatery at Port Blair located just in the market area and thereafter enjoy a secure late night leisure walk.

If you have a shoe string budget you can curtail your air fare by checking for connecting flights, usually flights that have a layover are a bit cheaper. You can save your extra bucks and stay more luxuriously or indulge in some exotic sea food and other beverages. However, you will have to spend a night at the airport. We did have the company of a couple of other honeymooners who also spent their night at the airport with us. 

The languages spoken are Hindi and English and you can move around easily with places easy to locate. The sun sets by around 16:30hrs so make sure you grab a quick bite and turn in early as all restaurants close by 22hrs. 

A recent news report by IANS, mentions that, ‘The group of 572 emerald islands in the Bay of Bengal, out of which only 36 are inhabited, is surely waiting to be discovered’. So you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go downtown, downtown.....way down to the Andaman’s. 

Monday, 3 February 2014

City Adrift by Naresh Fernandes....... the city that is gradually losing its soul

City Adrift by Naresh Fernandes

In his most recent novel, ‘City Adrift’, A Short Biography of Bombay, well known author and journalist Naresh Fernandes captures the key essence of Bombay that once was and shares his assessment of the city through the book.

Every chapter in the books reeks of some gripping and lesser known facts about Bombay that one has not heard of. Completed over a period of several months the book includes extensive research and references to earlier books chronicling the history and culture of Bombay. The biography from page to page is inspiring and captivating throughout. It is a literal walk through Bombay’s humble beginnings and details how Bombay grew from strength to strength.

The book begins by trailing along what the city offers in terms of housing and the recent real estate projects that have been cropping up across the landscape of Bombay to a city that is gradually losing its soul. The city today is a contrast of multi storied glass towers, British era and art deco buildings and one to two storey shanties that stretch along its periphery. Naresh notes, as Bombay soars higher, the shared spaces that make the city human, its pavements and playgrounds and beaches are gradually shrinking and re-development, is the new lingo to describe the phenomenon of older buildings and industrial estates giving way to malls and glass towers.

City Adrift takes a step back to how and when the seven islands of Bombay were fused over time for smoother commute and which in turn paved the way for the city’s development. These islands were occupied by a diverse set of people with different ethnic backgrounds and varied cultures. Most of the people were invited to the city by the British to practice their trade, sell their wares and advance finances of the city. They moved to the city centuries ago and settled in within the fort walls. This in turn led to rampant construction of residential quarters, mostly in their own native style of architecture. It would also be fitting to mention here that administrators began to import Englishwomen as well to marry British settlers, although this act went a bit askew. The city’s population was estimated to have moved to 60,000 at this time.

As the cotton trade began to flourish and there was an increasing demand for cotton from Europe, weavers from the nearby towns of Thana and Bhiwandi were also invited to Bombay. To accommodate these city migrants, new houses were built in the fort area, concessions were even offered to foreign merchants: Armenian traders were afforded warehousing facilities and exempted from anchorage charges. A UNESCO report on India’s internal migrants and their status released earlier pointed to the reality that such people – not specific to Mumbai – seen as outsiders who inflict a burden on places where they move to, are in fact, a reason for all manner of growth, more importantly, economic growth.

When the city exchanged hands from the Portuguese to the British during the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Catherine of Braganza, it is interesting to note that the first time Prince Charles met the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza, he is said to have exclaimed, ‘My God! They have brought me a bat’ to marry. For many this is out of the ordinary and does not find a mention in most text books too. To pacify the marriage pact it is said that the Portuguese not only offered the islands of Bombay as dowry but also enticed him with Tangier in North Africa, trading privileges in Brazil and the East Indies, and two million cruzados.

The book then deep dives into the Gandhi period in Bombay, the Non-Cooperation Movement and the beginning of the freedom struggle. It also talks about the great and respected stalwarts of Bombay like Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy who during his life time spent around 2.5 million on charity. Sir J. J. has also been referred to the old time China Trader and it was as a result of his numerous crossings that blue Chinese plates and vases made their way into the homes of many locals.

As you continue reading the book, the city of Bombay comes alive while Naresh trudges along the frequented and desolate, unheard places scattered in the island of Bombay. For e.g., Few know about an isolate corner which lies in Colaba, just behind the Colaba Police Station that marks the island of Colaba when it was an island by itself and not merged with its six other sisters. A pink plaque marks the site of the former crossing of about 300 yards of creek that separated the island of Bombay from Old Woman’s Island, it declares. ‘The creek was filled in 1838.’ It also mentions that Nallasopara was a very important port that traded with Mesopotamia and Egypt and even got the fancy of King Ashoka. (Relics found indicate that in the fourteenth year of his reign, the emperor dispatched preachers to the area) In fact the port even finds a mention in the Bible as Ophir which was famous for its wealth. It notes that King Solomon received a cargo of gold, silver, sandalwood, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks from Ophir, every three years. One may also have heard about the Buddhist caves at Kanheri in Borivili (E) and Mahakali in Andheri (E) but Buddhist caves can be spotted at Jogeshwari and Borivli-Mandapeshwar too. The Mandapeshwar caves in reality sport an etched cross and also a Shaivite motifs. The book brings to light many other interesting tid-bits of the city too like a three metre tall monolith with seven representations of Shiva located at Golanjji hill or stone relics from the thirteenth- century battle between Bombay’s Silhara rulers and Yadava invaders- which today lies within a residential quarter.

Another interesting trivia is the transformation of Antop Hill, the hill which was once home to a burial ground for varied ethnic communities. It was not only the final resting place for Sunni Muslims and a crematorium for Hindus but also a burial ground for the Armenians, the Chinese, the Baha’is, the Prarthana Samaj and the Jews, in particular- Jewish prostitutes.

Today the city as the title suggests is at loose ends and is certainly going against the tide with no concrete development plans. Reclamation projects continue to encompass mangroves and the city’s shoreline, while numerous shanties continue to flourish with the support they receive from our local politicians.

Renowned architect Charles Correa, notes that, ‘Bombay is a great city and a terrible place. No matter how burdensome life in Bombay seems to become, it’s almost impossible to leave’’. Many would agree with Charles that the city does have a strong hold on you, even if you haven’t stayed long enough. As the city continues to grow and more concrete structures continue to emerge, we hope that the city does not lose its soul and continues to be close to our hearts.

City Adrift is published by Aleph Book Company and is available at all leading book stores for a mere INR 250/-. It was launched on November 15, 2013 at the Experimental Theatre, NCPA by Charles Correa amidst the presence of well known economist Ajit Ranade, housing rights activist Simpreet Singh and architect-writer Mustansir Dalvi and many others. 

It is certainly a must read as it is packed together with so many interesting anecdotes and specifics that cannot be possibly put together in this brief review.  For those who love the city and are keen to discover its glorious past, please do pick a copy and treasure it. You will certainly not be disappointed.