Pop-up: Kala Ghoda Arts Festival
2012, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
Justice Gautam Patel of the Bombay High Court recently ordered the police to drop the case against Vijay Patil, arrested in Kolhapur one morning for drinking chai (tea) in a suspicious manner.
“We were unaware that the law required anyone to give an explanation for having tea, whether in the morning, noon or night. One might take tea in a variety of ways, not all of them always elegant or delicate, some of them perhaps even noisy. But we know of no way to drink tea ‘suspiciously’…And while cutting chai is permissible, now even fashionable, cutting corners with the law is not.” Justice Patel ruled.
Hersh Acharya cuts his chai glasses but rigorously keeps the law.
Furniture: Café Military (1933)
Ali Chamber, Tamarind Lane, Fort (presently M. Shetty Marg).
The café, through its title, brings back the military presence at the heart of the Fort locality, where it rightly belongs.
In the 1800’s the Fort was filled with establishments catering to the needs of the forces-army saddlers, military and naval outfitters, mess, army and general agents, hotels.
Bombaywalla looks forward to meeting the ever-smiling, adorable proprietor, featured at end of this video.
This photo and more to follow, establish Hashim Badani as a people’s person and photographer.
Fountains: Flora Fountain (1869)
Junction of Hornby Road, Esplanade Road and Churchgate Street, Fort (presently Hutatma Chowk).
Flora Fountain is a defining landmark in the city so much so that it has become an address in itself, which any Bombaywalla will easily recognise.
Though originally named Frere Fountain, after governor Sir Henry Bartle Frere (1862-67), the architect of the new Fort district, the Fountain has always been referred to by its adopted name. Flora is the Roman goddess of flowers and the season of spring; a minor deity in Roman mythology, a major madame of Bombay.
St. Thomas’ Cathedral (1718)
Church Gate Street, Fort (presently Veer Nariman Road)
The colonial government regularly reminded Bombay’s citizenry that it subsidized the cost of divine worship at St. Thomas’ Cathedral. Pew rents, a common means through which churches generated income by charging worshippers for the use of pews, were not imposed, states city directories from the late 1800s.
Notice a lady’s Louis Vuitton handbag in the corner that could well do with subsidizing.
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.