Category Archives: Signage

Karfule completes 80 years!

17 September, 2018
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Signage: Karfule (1938)

25 Sprott Road, Ballard Estate.

Karfule, Bombay’s most stylish service station, completes 80 years! Join us as we journey through the decades, from the day the foundation stone was laid for the structure to the opening ceremony of the station, right upto Wednesday 3rd October 2018, when the Sequeira family will celebrate 80 years of Karfule, recreating the menu and merriment of the original opening party!

Bombaywalla is proud to partner with Karfule for this special anniversary.

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K. N. Ajani turns a 100 years young!

11 July, 2018
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1. K. N. Ajani, the well-known manufacturers of nutcrackers, knives, scissors and locks, has turned a ‘100 years young’!2. The founder, Keshavji Narshi Ajani, knew a thing or two about staying young, regularly practicing yoga and displaying charts with various asanas across his premises. 3. His great-grandsons, Sanyam and Yash, have started young, attending to the shop during their summer vacations, under their father Paresh’s supervision. 4. Nutcrackers were the shop’s No. 1 item, in high demand from clients as diverse as the Indian Railways, bridal parties who wanted to test if the groom could cut a betel nut, and sticklers who wanted to check the quality of annas by cutting them.5. A popular Gujarati saying, Maro to suri vache supari jevo avatar che, uses the symbolism of a betel nut in a nutcracker to explain the difficulties of being caught in a no-win situation.6. Sales of pen knives and general knives increase in the mango season. 7. Scissors for general, tailoring or kitchen use, are one of their 4 main products.

Signage: K. N. Ajani (1918)

Shop No. 102, Krishna Gully, Swadeshi Market (formerly Morarji Goculdas Market), Kalbadevi Raod.

Young K. N. Ajani was so inspired by the Swadeshi movement that not only did he relocate his shop from Masjid Bunder to the Morarji Goculdas Market at Kalbadevi, the bastion of Swadeshi, he also switched from selling standard cloth to manufacturing nutcrackers, knives, scissors and locks!

By 1919, M. K. Gandhi was visiting the Morarji Goculdas Market twice a month, presiding over the Swadeshi Sabha held in the Market Hall or inaugurating a new Swadeshi store. Speaking in Gujarati, Gandhi scolded the people of Bombay who took to speculation in shares and did not care to help ‘the real industry of the country’.

By the 1930s, Swadeshi had suffused the Morarji Goculdas Market so much so that it began to be called the Swadeshi Market! And while the other major markets in the area were stuck negotiating the conflicts between their foreign and Swadeshi sections, Swadeshi Market was smoothly selling small Indian industry.

Photos by the tall industry Hashim Badani. Thanks to Farrokh Jijina for his assistance with the Gujarati.

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Waterproofs & Whiteaway

29 March, 2018
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Signage: Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co. (1895)

Department Store, 32 Hornby Road, Fort. (1954 onwards, the Khadi and Village Industries Emporium, 286 Dadabhai Naoroji {D.N.} Road).

Waterproofs were Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co.’s capital range of clothing.

When the firm operated from a small, cramped premises at the Esplanade, they marketed their waterproof coats and capes as the ‘Cheapest Waterproofs in Bombay’. Thoroughly serviceable, excellent and durable, their waterproofs were so well priced that ladies were encouraged to visit their store before making a trip to the bazaar.

When Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co. moved into their handsome and commodious premises on Hornby Road in 1895, built especially as a department store for the firm, their waterproofs got even more attention- a special display for ladies’ and gentleman’s waterproofs and a fine show of waterproof carriage aprons, that prepared Bombay’s buggy drivers and passengers for the impending monsoons.

The monogram WL&Co. at the entrance of the premises reminds us of a time when the department store was in capital demand.

Photo by Hersh Acharya.

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Two ceremonies & a 160th anniversary

4 April, 2017
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Signage: Lady Willingdon Building for the Parsi Ambulance Division (1932)

1 Esplanade Road, Fort (presently M. G. Road).

Bombay’s buildings were inaugurated with two important ceremonies- the foundation stone laying ceremony and the opening ceremony.

These ceremonies drew from colonial civic practices, masonic rituals and indigenous customs such as marking the first stone with vermillion pigment and breaking a coconut over it, and opening the door to the building with a set of keys and declaring the building open.

The one-storey Lady Willingdon Building for the Parsi Ambulance Division was built remarkably fast with sethia Sir Hormusjee C. Dinshaw laying the foundation stone for the building on 18th October 1931 and Sir Fredrick Hugh Sykes, Governor of Bombay, inaugurating the building on 9th April 1932.

4th April, 2017 marks the 160th birth anniversary of Hormusjee Dinshaw.

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National logistics?

14 May, 2016
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BW-8423-corrected

Signage: The National Hindu Lodge

1st Floor, Prathna Samaj, New Queen’s Road.

It was probably the presence of a large number of modern facilities such as lodges, hotels and hospitals, that were meant for the exclusive use of particular communities that led to the term ‘Cosmopolitan’ being included in the names of establishments that were open to all.

Cosmopolitan Restaurant & Stores, a corner cafe across the National Hindu Lodge at Prathna Samaj is a good example of that.

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