Author Archives: admin

Welcome to Karfule, Bombay’s most stylish service station

16 January, 2018
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Infrastructure: Karfule (1938)

25 Sprott Road, Ballard Estate.

In the 1920s and 30s, burglary was rampant at the newly developing district of Ballard Estate with thieves scaling the drain pipes of the Grand Hotel to steal jewels from the guests’ rooms and terriers persistently barking to alert their masters about armed intruders.

By the 1970s and 80s, drug addicts had made Ballard Estate their nightly abode, stealing any valuable metal they could find like the brass grills at the Karfule service station. Eventually only one brass grill was left. The proprietor, Kevin Sequeira, decided to paint the grills white, making the original and new indistinguishable to all. Even his son Daniel (pictured above) cannot identify the original!

This was also possibly the only instance when white paint was used to good effect at the service station. F. G. Sequeira, the founder, had fought to keep the façade the original Malad Stone, dashing off a letter to the Caltex petroleum company in the 1980s stating that he would not comply with their new regulation of painting service stations white. Caltex stopped supplying fuel to Karfule. F. G. Sequeira maintained his stance but agreed to let Caltex paint the station white at their own cost.

Now when the painters arrive every two years, Daniel ensures that they highlight the Art Deco elements that were expertly designed by architect G. B. Mhatre in the 1930s.

Photos by H. A. Badani, who made sure all the paint was scrapped off the Art Deco heirlooms he recently inherited.

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Season’s Greetings from 1931

25 December, 2017
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Archives: Season’s Greeting Card (1931)

By the 1840s, Bombay’s ladies had had enough of the tiresome custom of personally inviting female relatives and friends to a wedding in their family, two days before the wedding and again on the morning of the wedding itself!

They decided to send invitation cards to their lady guests instead.

Gentlemen already received letters of invitation. Now households began to receive two sets of invitation cards for the sexes.

And the ladies of the wedding party found themselves less fatigued and with a little more free time to enjoy the festivities.

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Welcome to Puthu & Sons

21 November, 2017
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1) Premanand Puthu Mankatty has been running the washing company his father Puthu founded for the last forty years. 2) Being one of twelve siblings, the second youngest of eight sons, it was only fitting that the company’s name was changed from Puthu & Co. to Puthu & Sons. 3) Premanand remembers the father of the current proprietor of the Gamdevi Hair Cutting Saloon near by, whose mooch was like Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s.
4) Customers’ clothes are cleaned and returned in two to three days. During the monsoons it can take five to six days. Sunday Closed. 5) When Premanand’s father Puthu migrated to Bombay from Kundapur, Karnatak, he worked at Cecil Laundry near by before starting his own business. 6) The shutters of the shop next to Puthu & Sons are permanently closed. An Irani restaurant, Gamdevi Restaurant, had its premises there.

Doors: Puthu & Sons Washing Co. (1934)
H. M. Akhalawaya Building, Gamdevi Road, Gamdevi.

By the 1860s, bathing and washing clothes in Bombay’s public tanks had become a threefold problem of public health, community and decency.

The Municipal Commissioners were concerned that the ‘mass of floating filth’ generated by the bathing and washing was the source of the most offensive effluvia which would be harmful to public health.

The native gentry, particularly the Bhattia and Bania communities, wanted to reserve the tanks for the purpose of drinking water.

And a poor woman had to write to the Bombay Gazette, under the sobriquet of ‘Saaf Owruth’, defending her daily routine of body washment at the Dhobee ka tallao, ‘that place I make washment one long wall is, so man cant see from street. If must come that way what for not turn head away, he not a proper man. I little English know but write true, you can laugh.’

Photos by Hashim Badani, a proper man.

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Bombaywalla & Royal Opera House

28 October, 2017
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Hello World

25 October, 2017
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