Boundaries: Marine Drive (1940)
(presently Netaji Subhaschandra Bose Marg).
If Bombay were to be part of someone’s dowry again, as it was in 1661 when Catherine of Braganza married Charles II, ‘sea breeze’ would still be the city’s unique selling point.
The promise of sea breeze has been the most consistent claim over the centuries. From house rentals to hotel advertisements to city guides, Bombay has always been sold through the sea.
Hersh Acharya captures the Arabian Sea with the promise of breeze, showers and all.
Statue: Lady Justice (1879)
Bombay High Court, Mayo Road, Fort (presently Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil Marg).
With Lady Justice presiding over the Bombay High Court, no manhandling was tolerated. Older forms of public punishment in the city that ranged from being pelted with cowdung or eggshells, to being tied to a pole and flogged, to being rotated in a cage till the prisoner fainted, were replaced with modern forms of discipline, decency and punishment.
Hersh Acharya, a Bombay Barrister, captures the likeness of the Lady from a gentlemanly distance.
Facades: The Imperial (2010)
The twin towers boldly reestablish the imperial presence in a city that has been fervently erasing the signs of its colonial past.
In fact, going up the 60 floors of the luxury towers must feel like retreating to the hills, the summer capitals of the Raj. A drop in temperature, exclusive club facilities, splendid views, superior sanitation, a little less crowding, a little less conversation.
Hersh Acharya captures The Imperial’s defiant presence.
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.
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.