Witness Mumbai’s old glory here
It was a pleasant surprise this morning to see the space under the flyover used so imaginatively. I had a nice walk under the flyover from King Circle’s Maheshwari Udyan to Khodadad Circle in Dadar. The municipal corporation can do a good job if it wants to.
There is a nice walkway with blue tiles, no debris anywhere and plenty of sitting space and greenery. Surprisingly, traffic on the road was not heavy, not much noise and the heavy traffic above does not disturb you. Plus it also turned out to be a heritage walk. Never realised many of the buildings on either side of Ambedkar road are so well designed, a mix of old and new architecture, a few like Teju Kaya and Bhoj Mahal have art deco features.
Some have nice balconies and jaalis. Some are very striking like Pai House, a ground plus two storey structure painted with white and red border. Laxmi Sadan, a three plus one structure is very colourful with a mix of white, yellow and blue and a Japanese type of a Torli gate. It is next to Parsi Gymkhana ground. All have low compound walls and provide a lot of visibility.
Never realised many of the buildings on either side of Ambedkar road are so well designed, a mix of old and new architecture, a few like Teju Kaya and Bhoj Mahal have art deco features.
But ugly high rises have started rising with nothing at eye level but cars parked one floor after another. Ekta Invictus building encroaches on the footpath unabashedly like so many other new buildings in the city and the municipal corporation or the corporators with all their corruption cannot set this one right. The slope for easy entry and exit for cars of the building completely disrupts the footpath and space for walkers.
Dolat Manzil, a nice old building, seems to be under heavy litigation as is clear from a board displayed outside with someone under serious investigation.
The ugly new buildings makes one realise how nice the older buildings are and there was such good planning like buildings around a circle in the middle as in Sion Circle, Maheshwari Udyan or King’s Circle and Khodadad Circle. Perhaps Jacob Circle also falls in the category though now it has become a bit downmarket but it is special because so many streets converge there which shows good planning.
Perhaps Mumbai needs a champion for some of these middle class type buildings like Amit Chaudhari is for Kolkata. In Mumbai, there is a good section taking care of corporate heritage buildings. But all this preservation has to be accompanied by cleanliness. In Bandra west, the beautification and heritage conservation of the suburban railway station is being brought to nought with debris piled all over on both sides of platform six and seven. No point in blaming slum dwellers. The railway and other authorities are obviously not doing a proper job. It costs little money.
Perhaps Mumbai needs a champion for some of these middle class type buildings like Amit Chaudhari is for Kolkata
Arora, the landmark old theatre in Matunga is in a sad state. Its colour has faded and even the name is missing. I saw Cleopatra, the 1963 film with Elizabeth Taylor in the main role there.
King’s Circle is one of the nicest suburban stations in Mumbai, still so quiet and with enough space to sit for hundreds along the edge of the wall on both sides of the two platforms. It even has a very conveniently located wash basin at the exit on one side. In contrast, the management at Bandra station seems almost sadistic and insulting in its denial of any sitting space on the harbour branch platforms.
The big budget redesigning of the space outside the station on the Western side seems to have led to a totally unintended chaos with disagreement between the civic body, railways and the BEST. How many more months of torture for commuters?
Pune is being uglified as never before with banners of politicians and the civic body has to now give a contract and spend money to remove these, Loksatta’s Mukund Sangoram reports. He is a noted classical music critic and also a journalist covering civic affairs. Must be tough for a sensitive mind like him.