Get Me to the Church on Time: Being a Practical Guide to Locating Bombay’s Milestones by an Enterprising Lady

25 April, 2017
Share Button

Inquiring minds should proceed to the Victoria and Albert Museum and Agri-Horticultural Gardens, beautifully laid out in Byculla, to spot this milestone. Formerly located near the Arthur Crawford Markets on the Esplanade, the milestone has been carefully relocated to the Museum for safekeeping.
Avail of H. D. Johnson’s Hansom Cab service at the Byculla Railway Station and direct the driver to Gamdevie, to that piece of ground bounded on the South by the House of Krishnarao Goregaonkar, on the North by the Railway Tracks and the West by the Public Road. Herein lies the second milestone marking ‘The Limits of the Town of Bombay’.
Explorers are encouraged to attend the public lecture on ‘REFORM’ at the Budhi-Varshak Society on Kalbadavie Road before proceeding to the southern end of the Road to locate the milestone marking ‘I Mile from St. Thomas’s Church’. Newly reformed, explorers will refrain from consuming intoxicating drinks at the Sunlight Restaurant & Bar, a nuisance in the locality.
Having journeyed through the native town on foot, explorers may hail a hack buggy and enjoy the sea breeze as they ride through Chowpatty to Tardeo Road to find the milestone ‘III Miles from St. Thomas’s Church’. The bungalows opposite the milestone have been lately occupied by two Parsee families, the Jessawallas and Adenwallas, whose ladies are well known for their beauty and daring.
Walk a short distance from Tardeo Road to Gowalla Tank to identify this milestone marking ‘3 Miles from the Cathedral’ a peculiar specimen with all the signs of being a later entrant– giant proportions, burnished in the sun and a number instead of a Roman numeral!
European explorers can stop and rest at the Byculla Club and native explorers can enjoy ICES! ICES!! ICES!!! at the Byculla Refreshment Rooms before making their way to Chinchpoogly to locate the milestone ‘IV Miles from St. Thomas’s Church’. The works of lighting Bombay by gas are proceeding very rapidly at Chinchpoogly, and pipes are being laid for the purpose along the main Parell Road, so that in a few months explorers will realize the long cherished hope of finding milestones IV and V at Parell Government Gate Road, by night.
The explorers may have the good fortune of receiving a carriage from His Excellency Sir Bartle Frere to proceed as a party to Dadur to spot three milestones in quick succession- ‘VI Miles from St. Thomas’s Church’ opposite Chitra & Co., photographers and general merchants lately developing motion picture technology; another ‘VI Miles from St. Thomas’s Church’ on Dadur Main Road and ‘VII Miles from St. Thomas’s Church’ outside Mr. Antonio Da Silva’s Anglo-Portuguese School.

Gentleman are requested to wear their Sola Hats and ladies their Straw Bonnets for the final leg of the excursion to Sion, the limits of the Island of Bombay, where the milestone ‘VIII Miles from St. Thomas’s Church’ is situated.
On achieving this milestone, the whole party is invited to celebrate with a pic-nic at Sion Fort.

Boundaries: Island of Bombay

Miss Bombaywalla begs to return her best thanks for the assistance she has received from Messrs. Aadil Desai, Vistasp Mehta, Dj Murty, Atul Gandhi, Bittu Ahmadullah & Miss Nergish Sunavala in locating the milestones and examining photographic impressions of the specimens. She also wishes to thank the PUBLIC at large for their timely assistance when she was knocked down by two youths furiously and negligently driving a two-wheeler on the wrong side of a public road.

** Mr. Forjett, Deputy Commissioner of Police, confirms that milestone ‘II Miles from St. Thomas’s Church’ has been destroyed by the chief leaders of the notorious Dhobee Tulao Thalimkhana gangs, who have extended their reign of terror northwards to the junction of Parell Road and Sandhurst Road.

Share Button

Two ceremonies & a 160th anniversary

4 April, 2017
Share Button

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.

Share Button

Saal Mubarak & Navroze Mubarak

21 March, 2017
Share Button

Bombaywala logo-4thAnniversary

Motifs: Bombaywalla

On Navroze Day, we turn 4! We are excited to announce that Bombaywalla will soon be made into a company which will conduct walks through Bombay’s various localities and celebrated structures.

Thank you for all your support, love, likes and enthusiasm!

Share Button

A Gentleman’s Guide to Cooking for his Gentleman

14 February, 2017
Share Button


by Vikram Doctor

Brown rice doesn’t have the best of reputations.

I am not talking, of course, of the Parsi version, dyed a rich dark brown with caramel and served as an accompaniment to dhansak.

But real brown rice, cooked with the husk on. Its known to be nutritious, but also a bore. All too often it becomes edible chewing gum, coarse and heavy to eat with endless chewing and leaden in the stomach.
Yet brown rice can be delicious the way I make it for my boyfriend and me. Like many Indian men he’s finicky about food and has just turned vegetarian. A New Year’s resolution which is still going strong in February so it might be lasting.

Start with the rice. Never brown basmati. Overused as it is, basmati still has its place at the table, but I’m not sure that brown basmati does. It neither works as brown rice or basmati.

I use Indrani, an excellent variety grown in the Konkan close to Mumbai. It is rounded and cooks soft, but doesn’t collapse into mush too easily and has a great ability to absorb aromas. You can get good brown Indrani at organic food stores or the Farmer’s Market that takes place in winters in Bandra. But I’ve also found it being sold on the road to Goa, on the interior route which we take when we drive down with Sheroo, our black Lab. After the national highway, when we turn off at Nippani to cut across the fields of the Deccan plateau and then the ghats down to the Konkan, on the side you will find local traders selling rice, papads, pickles all locally grown and made. It’s a good place to stop and buy brown Indrani.

image1 (3)

The key with brown rice is soaking it. A few hours at least and perhaps even all night. This is the one thing you need to remember in advance, but soon it becomes routine. Soak and then wash away the cloudy water and wash again and again and once more.

Next make the base. It can just be onions, but is much better with other vegetables as well. Carrots are very good, adding sweetness and vivid colour. Zucchini gives a green edge and releases so much water you should add less.

image1 (4)

Chop the onions and other vegetables finely. A food processor helps a lot here. I’m not giving quantities. You should guess what works in your pressure cooker. Because of course you have a pressure cooker.  

image1 (5)

Put it on the fire and heat some oil or ghee. If its oil I prefer sesame, the original, ancient oil of India though surprisingly hard to find. I buy mine in a bookshop, the Gandhi Book Centre near Grant Road station, where it comes cold pressed from the Yusuf Mehrally Centre in Panvel outside Mumbai.

Or use ghee, which can’t be beaten for taste. Coimbatore’s ghee is famous in Tamil Nadu where I grew up and you can find it in Mumbai in P.Ramalingam’s shop in Matunga, just as you climb down from the Z-bridge walkway.
I also use buffalo ghee which is excellent and stupidly looked down on by people who fetishize cows. Buffalos are far more suited to India, produce excellent milk replete with butterfat from which really excellent ghee can be made. I buy it from the Punjab & Sind stall in Khar, at least partly because it’s also an excuse to buy some of their wonderful, lightly salted and soft paneer.
We’re almost ready to start, but of course there has to be a secret ingredient. Not my secret as much as that of professional caterers who use it to add flavour to their rice dishes. Sometimes they are unscrupulous about it since what it adds is the nutty, almost popcorn aroma that is close to basmati, and that’s what they will claim they used.

image1 (6)

Samar Gupta of Trikaya Agro grows it at his farm in Talegaon near Mumbai, but ever since he shut his stall at Crawford Market it’s become harder to find. Luckily Sunil, the smartest vegetable seller in Mumbai sells it from his stall at Pali Market.
You can trust Sunil to get produce no one else in Mumbai has – and to sell it to you for a price that reflects this. Luckily you can get a large quantity of pandan leaves for Rs100 and they will last you a while in your fridge. They actually seem to become more aromatic as they wither and dry.
Now it’s quick. Sauté the chopped onions in the hot oil or ghee. When they’re getting brown add the chopped up veggies. When these are well cooked – you want to braise them rather than fry them, so add dashes of water if it’s getting too dry – add the drained rice, a few pandan leaves, plenty of water and then just enough salt. You want all the flavours to come through, so too much salt is a mistake.

When the water has just started boiling close the pressure cooker lid – but don’t put on the weight. Kavita Mukhi who runs the Farmer’s Market gave me this tip for brown rice. She said the steamy heat of the almost closed cooker will work on the rice, but the slight escape for the steam prevents the rice overheating and destroying the nutrients.

image1 (2)

Cooking it this way also prevents the rice become mush. You want it soft and slightly sticky, but not mush. And when you cook it this way with pandan leaves the steam that escapes is replete with that wonderful warm aroma, making everything in your kitchen and house smell better.
The only problem is that the aroma will make you insanely hungry. And you shouldn’t hurry this, since you want the rice to cook well, till most of the water is absorbed or evaporated. As it cooks you will see a plume of steam coming off the cooker, and when it looks like it’s slowing down, that’s roughly when you know it’s done.
And here is the other advantage of the unweighted cooking method. Since it doesn’t allow the steam to build up to scary levels, you can open the cooker almost at once. Release the lid and let it drop on its own and then savour the intense burst of warm rice aroma that surges up with the steam. Fluff up the rice with a big spoon, remove the pandan leaves.


Vikram Doctor’s On My Plate column has the best of reputations and his Real Food Podcasts make for a most charming Valentine’s date.

Our mascot Manuel is ready in red courtesy Cyrus Daruwala.

Share Button

Esquire indeed!

12 January, 2017
Share Button

Seth Bomanji Hormasji  Wadia008

Archives: Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia Esq. J.P.

Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia (1808-1862) was typical of the second or third generation of Bombay’s mercantile elite, who more public men than business men.

Bomonjee, his obituaries highlight, was liberal, well versed in the law, a judicious philanthropist and held the positions of Sheriff of Bombay, Commissioner of the Court of Requests and Justice of the Peace, among others.

‘Kind, amiable and gentlemanly in his manners’, as the Bombay Gazette describes him, Bomonjee seems to have been at ease with the world. With his modern customised hat and coat, his image is quite different from the previous generations of Wadias who posed for their portraits in turbans and with rulers tucked into their waistbands.

Image from H. D. Darukhanawala’s Parsi Lustre on Indian Soil. Bombay: G. Claridge & Co. LTD., 1939, p. 345.

The clock tower built in 1880 in Bomonjee’s memory has been recently restored.

Share Button