Category Archives: Doors

So long Strand

28 February, 2018
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1) It was during the intermission of the English films at Strand Cinema, that 23-year-old T. N. Shanbhag hoped, the audience would browse and buy the books at the stall he set up there in 1948.
2) In 1956, Mr Shanbhag acquired new and spacious premises for the book stall at Dhan Nur building on Phirozeshah Mehta Road, while still maintaining the original counter at the Strand Cinema in Colaba. 3) Phirozeshah Mehta Road, was a relatively recent locality, dominated by insurance companies. Irani and other restaurants were present at every corner. 4) Mr Shanbhag and his staff would go for a ‘single’ (tea) to Bristol Grill nearby. 5) He offered the iconic 20% discount right from the beginning. 6) Mr Shanbhag’s son, Arun, joined the family business from America, sourcing titles that had made it to the top of the charts. 7) His daughter, Vidya, launched branches of the store in Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad and Poona, and the mega Strand sale at the Sunderbai Hall in Bombay.

Doors: Strand Book Stall (1956)

15C Dhan Nur, Sir Phirozeshah Mehta Road, Fort.

The iconic Strand Book Stall will shut down today after a 72 year run.

Hersh Acharya captures the last days of the institution.

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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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Good Luck Bombay!

13 April, 2016
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Doors: Cosmopolitan Restaurant & Stores

Sir Hurkisondas Nurrotumdas Hospital, junction of Sandhurst Road and New Queen’s Road.

In Irani restaurants and bakeries across Bombay horseshoes are found at the entrances of the establishments. They symbolise good luck.

Humin Irani of Cosmopolitan Restaurant & Stores explains that his grandfather and father were very interested in the ‘spiritual line’; they prayed at the store counter, fasted, read people’s faces and befriended Israeli tourists of a spiritual bent.

Humin asks ‘Have you read The laws of the Spirit World ?’ ‘No? I will give you a copy’.

Picture by Hashim Badani who is very interested in the ‘photography line’.

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One sip at a time

29 April, 2013
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Meher Cold Drink House

Doors: Meher Cold Drink House (1939)
Mackawee Mansion, corner of Gunbow Street and Parsi Bazaar Street, Fort (presently Rustom Sidhwa Marg).

Well into the late 1800s, strict caste and purity codes prevented the experience of inter-dining amongst the native populations of Bombay. Pan-supari, rosewater and nosegays, were distributed at the end of public/semi public gatherings, but no food. As the benefits of inter-dining were felt, cold drinks were first introduced for consumption, gradually making way for solid foods.

Meher Cold Drink House, although a sprightly 74, is an example of the early establishments that facilitated the experience of cosmopolitan drinking and eventually dining.

Young Bombaywalla was introduced to the delights of Meher Cold Drink House by her mother Veera, a regular at the unassuming eateries in the Fort.

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