Category Archives: Signage

Pyaar mein saudaa nahin

13 December, 2013
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Signage: Voodoo

Signage: Voodoo
Kamal Mansion, Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba.

The Queen’s Necklace has turned into a noose for Bombay’s gay community. In 2012, the city’s iconic gay landmark, the Voodoo nightclub, finally shut down after a raid by Vasant Dhoble, the killjoy, hockey-stick wielding Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Voodoo had welcomed city’s LGBT community in the early 1990’s when most of the other nightclubs kept them out.

Bombaywalla urges all Indians to face the direction of the Supreme Court and sing

Gay gay, gay, gay gay, gay
Gay re saiba
Pyaar mein saudaa nahin

in light of its shameful verdict recriminalizing homosexuality.

Photo by Bipin Kokate from the Mid-Day website. Thanks to Mustansir Dalvi for suggesting the song.

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Wasted days and wasted nights

29 November, 2013
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SS-K2913-Signage

Signage: Bombay Panjrapole (1834)

Near Madhav Baug Post Office, Bhuleshwar.

Pregnant cows were probably better off than pregnant women in 19th c Bombay. Expectant women were subject to a long and lonely lying-in period. They were confined to a dark and dingy room on the ground floor of their residences, for a period as long as 40 days after delivery.

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Chemists, Cigarette Moulds & Cheerot-holders

15 November, 2013
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Signage: Perry & Co.

Signage: Perry & Co. (1925)

Pannalal Terrace, Grant Road (presently Dada Saheb Bhadkamkar Marg).

Early chemists in Bombay doubled as general merchants selling ‘Shag and Returns TOBACCO’, Cigarette Moulds and Papers, Cheerot-holders and Cases alongside medical preparations compounded on the premises.

Hersh Acharya captures a contemporary, more focused, chemist.

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Eat A.E.B. bread

6 September, 2013
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Signage: American Express Bakery

Signage: American Express Bakery

Shop no. 87, Hill Road, Bandra.

Early advertisements of the American Express Bakery promoted its A.E.B. bread nourishingly made with milk and malt. At the turn of the 20th century ads for various products and establishments drew from the discourses of science, sanitation, health and physical strength.
The monogram AEB can still be found on the furniture at the immaculately preserved Bandra branch of the Bakery. Bombaywalla thanks Mr Chittibabu, manager of the branch, for his kind assistance.

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Oh doctor, I’m in trouble

2 August, 2013
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Signage: The Parsee Lying-in Hospital (1895)

Signage: The Parsee Lying-in Hospital (1895)

Prescott Road (presently G. Talwatkar Marg).

Medical and reformatory institutions had some of the most awkward names and addresses in Bombay. The name ‘Parsee Lying-in Hospital’ must have done little to reassure the public of the condition of the strictly Parsi patients on the premises.
In fact, the present occupiers of the premises, who run a magazine on the Parsis, have shifted their subscription office to an adjacent building. Perhaps the editor thought that a Parsi lying in hospital does little to reassure the public of the health of a Parsi magazine.

Another awkward address found in The Bombay Gazette –
Mr. Watson, No. 104, Lunatic Asylum Lane, Upper Colaba, near the Light House.

Hersh Acharya captures both the original and more recent spelling of Parsee and Parsi, with potted plants and all.

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