Category Archives: Infrastructure

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. I. Badani, who made sure all the paint was scrapped off the Art Deco heirlooms he recently inherited.

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Welcome to the wonderful world of Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

27 July, 2015
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SriLanka_ChurchExterior2 1. The Dutch Reformed Church (1755) on Church Street.

SriLanka_WhiteDeco2. Hotel Deco on 44 on Lighthouse Street.

Srilanka_DecoPink3. More Art Deco to dekho .

SriLanka_ChurchExterior14. Strolling past one of the quieter though equally curious streets.

Srilanka_FortCars5. The entrance to the Maritime Archeology Museum on Queen’s Street.

Srilanka_MuseumInterior16. A model of the Avondster which sank in the Galle harbour over 300 years ago. The ship wreck was excavated in the 1990s and several of the artefacts that were found on the site are displayed in the Museum.

Srilanka_CourtExterior7. The view from the Fort’s ramparts.

Srilanka_MuseumExterior8. Whizzing past Front Cross Street in the judicial district.

Srilanka_FortWithAuto9. Everyday traffic through the Fort walls of the settlement.

Infrastructure: Galle Fort

Galle, Sri Lanka.

Galle is arguably the best example of a fort city in the world today with functioning court houses, a post-office, schools, houses of worship, homes, hotels, museums and shops, all located within the walls of the fortified settlement.

Galle Fort is reminder of what Fort Bombay would have looked like if the colonial government had not demolished the fort’s ramparts in 1863-64, to pave the way to create an open metropolis, and the government of Maharashtra had paid attention to conserving the architectural beauty of the precinct.

Our next post in this guest city series will be on the hotels of Galle and Colombo.

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I Take This Train Too

29 June, 2014
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Infrastructure: Trains

In this guest post Cyrus Daruwala introduces us to the delightful characters of his book ‘I Take This Train Too’ (see gallery above) and tells us what motivated him to create them.

‘Alok Nanda & Company, the ad agency I work with, is located in Great Western Building – a heritage/crumbling building opposite Lion’s Gate. To reach the office before sundown there is but one choice – the train. The journey from Andheri to Churchgate is a long one, particularly if you’ve nothing to do. So I chose to entertain myself in a way that wouldn’t have me arrested – I sketched. It struck me that the Mumbai trains are (literally) packed with unique characters and they deserved to be documented.

I enjoyed it so much, I eventually quit my job and began to compile the book, observation by observation. Some people weren’t pleased with my decision to go all Prince Siddhartha on them and give up a steady job. But there were so many more who were thrilled and supportive.

After 8 months I finished the book. So I picked up where I left off, by rejoining the same company. Except now my agency head, Alok Nanda, was also my publisher. He established Filter Press, and it was a delight to have a publisher whose only goal was to maintain the highest standards in book production.

The book has been created as a true collector’s edition, hardbound with open stitch binding, and a special slip case. The illustrations are brought alive through colour printing on special paper. The colourful palette was derived from the character’s qualities. Whether it was the sickly pale yellow of the ‘Starer’, or the dull grey of the ‘Sleepwalker’. You can pick up your copy of the book on Amazon or order art prints / book from Tadpole Store.’

On Twitter Cyrus assumes personas as colourful as his characters- he is variously Cyrus Trainwala, Drawingwala, Adwala. When tired, he is Cyrus Drainwala. After bagging 6 awards for the book at the Kyoorius Design Yatra 2013 and the Abby Awards 2014, we bestow the twitter handle – Cyrus Well-deserved Awardwala.

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The long and winding road

17 March, 2014
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Infrastructure: M. Ali Road

Infrastructure: Mohammed Ali Road ‘ahiste jao’ only ‘go slow’.

Photo by Royal Enfield rider Hashim Badani.

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From sea to shanty to shining skyscraper

29 July, 2013
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Infrastructure: Worli

Bombay’s contemporary landscape is a collage of shanties, skyscrapers and the sea. During the plague and cholera epidemics in the 1800’s, shanties and their inhabitants were the particular targets of the colonial state. It was assumed that the epidemics were the product of the unsanitary, overcrowded and ill-ventilated conditions in which the urban poor lived.

This superb panorama of the three tiers is shot by Hersh Acharya.

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