Motifs: Lakshmi Building (1938)
Pherozeshah Mehta Road, Fort.
Monkeys weren’t the only ones enjoying a spot in the sun in the 1930s, elephants too were making their mark in the emerging and exciting landscape of Art Deco in Bombay.
Formerly, in Bombay’s grand Neo-Gothic buildings animals featured amid a host of plants, as densely ornamented flora and fauna. One had to strain and train the eye to locate each individual specimen.
With the coming of Art Deco in the 1930s, animals were freed and enjoyed a life of their own. They appeared muscular yet playful, echoing the current aesthetic, yet on their own terms, trunks and tails.
Photo by Rahul Patel.
Clocks: Rajabai Clock Tower (1878)
Mayo Road (presently Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil Marg), Fort.
The sensational Rajabai Tower Case of 1891, in which two girls aged 16 and 20, were found dead at the foot of the Rajabai Clock Tower, firmly established that with advent of the high-rise, the nature of suicides had changed in Bombay.
Formerly Bombay’s distressed inhabitants ended their lives in other ways. Consuming arsenic or opium and drowning in wells were the most common means; knives were also used, to slit throats and wrists. Coroners’ inquests from the mid 19th century suggest that several of the deceased were terminally ill.
The 280-foot Rajabai Clock Tower changed the landscape, with more and more inhabitants choosing to end their lives from the Tower’s top gallery. The problem became so acute that the authorities had to eventually close the Tower to the public.
Photo by Rahul Patel, who stood safely on the ground.