Showing posts from July, 2013

The 9:14 Local

June 26, 2010. I was resuming work after a year. I had not noticed her on the first day, nor on the second, or the third and for quite some time in the 9:14 Vashi local to Mumbai CST. I noticed her a week later. She sat opposite me by the window and snoozed while keeping her copy of Midnight's Children on her lap. The journey to Mumbai CST is nearly 35 minutes long and it always feels nice when a familiar face travels along. 

The First Class compartment was jam-packed and I had not landed a seat as usual. I stood sandwiched between a man and a young girl. Travelling since 1999 had made me a veteran and a self-proclaimed expert in commuting. I was quite used to being crushed by other passengers, just as every Mumbaikar who has ever travelled by a local train is. The train now halted at Tilaknagar where three ladies and a young boy in tattered clothes got in. The boy had a lot of confidence despite most of the commuters passing cringed looks. He moved around the compartment from one …

Cochin Harbour Terminus

A chilling silence welcomes you as one negotiates through a deserted parking lot. Stepping in to an old structure such as the Cochin Harbour Terminus conjures up visions of a bygone era when the world had a greater sense of gratitude for time and place. The only sound one gets to hear most often in this building are the echoes of one's footsteps. Memories of another day, when this structure once represented the lifeline and spirit of Cochin flood one's mind. True, structurally the Cochin Harbour Terminus is not an architectural wonder but one cannot help notice the sense of loss, remorse and guilt that engulfs someone each time one passes by this dilapidated building, which today is just a shadow of its former glory.
The exact date about the inception of the station is not known due to non-availability of records. However, memories estimate it to be around 1940s when the Cochin Harbour Terminus was a station under the Olavakode (present day Palakkad division) of the erstwhile S…

St. Andrews Church

Walk and you shall find,

Listen and you shall now..

Armed with these two commandments for successful travel, I went out to Bandra seeking to explore more about the St. Andrew's Church. The walk in itself was pretty much a success (or so I would like to believe) considering it left me with rich legends, anecdotes and visual memories of the Bandra that venture beyond history books. Bandra is a fine place to explore that opens up wonderful opportunities to discerning eyes and keen ears. 
There is a solemn beauty in the silence of death and St. Andrew's Church in Bandra reveals this. St. Andrew's Church is one of the oldest surviving churches in the suburb built in 1575 by Jesuit priests and remained the only church in Bandra till 1620. Structurally, the altar of the church extends almost to the roof which carries statues of Sacred Heart, Our Lady and St. Andrew. In addition, there are smaller statues of St. John the Baptist, St. Sebastian. 
There are rows of tombstones that have …

A Walk in Bandra

Bandra remains one of the lesser explored but more interesting parts of Mumbai, tempting its visitors with a unique mix of history, architecture, traditional "gaothans", the glitz of the Hindi film industry and also boasting some of the best shopping spots in the city. 

The suburb of Bandra is a fine village comprising around 20 hamlets that were originally known in Marathi as "pakhadis". Bandra consisted of Sherly, Malla, Rajan, Kantwady, Waroda, Ranwar, Boran, Pali and Chuium. The earliest records of Bandra are from the mid 1500's, when the Portuguese gave the Jesuit priests the islands of Bandra, Sion, Wadala and Parel. 

The Portuguese built several churches in Bandra, many of which are still in use today. Bandra remained a village with plantations of rice and vegetables, until it was connected to Mahim by a causeway in 1845. Many bungalows were built here between the years of 1860s and 1870s.  

Today, we explore Ranwar, a century old East Indian village right …