Is it possible to be both happy and sad? I guess it is. Blessed are those whose minds are always calm and composed. Well, mine is one hell of a mess. The mess reached its epitome when I was leaving my hometown Kolkata to make a new nest in Mumbai– the city of dreams. Forget the people, I was even missing the walls of my room. The clouds reminded me of my furry ‘stray Persian’ cat! On the other hand I was excited to discover a new city.
My home in the Kolkata suburb of Howrah is a standalone two storied house. My friends, neighbours, relatives and most of the people I know lives in either standalone houses or flat buildings which are five-six storied at the maximum.
The skyline of the Mumbai suburb I reside in now is ruled by skyscrapers. The concept of standalone houses is non-existent in my current locality.
I thought to myself “ Navi Mumbai is a modern planned city and it is expected to have the characteristics of the same. However, Mumbai must have old neighbourhoods which can still remind me of my native place.” Where better to start my search of old neighbourhoods than the alleys of Bandra?
I had been to Bandra once before to visit Mount Mary’s Basilica and gawk at the Bandra-Worli sea link. I sensed there is a remarkable ‘Unity In Diversity’: Several religions co-exist; Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan have some neighbours down the beach who live in makeshift shacks. Though some of the richest people of India live in Bandra, it doesn’t stop the shopkeepers from selling bags, shoes and dresses worth only a couple of hundreds.
Apart from my own observations, I read lots of literature available on the internet which swear by the charm of Bandra. They sold Bandra to me!
The Bandra railway station and bus station are adjacent to each other. We boarded off the bus, turned on Google Maps and set Bandra Station the source and Chapel Road the destination.
We followed Lord Google, left the broad street and entered an alley. As we moved forward the alley became thinner and bifurcated several times. We were in a Muslim neighbourhood. The houses were humble, old and it reminded me of my hometown. Since it was a sweltering afternoon not many were out on the road but still the hustle and bustle was noteworthy.
I don’t remember how many times we took left and right turns, but I remember the sudden change in the nature of the alley. There, in front of each house was a cross of Jesus. I have never been in a neighbourhood like this before. I felt a ‘Goa Goa’ feeling going on inside me!
Discoveries In The Chapel Road
The Christian neighbourhood was completely sleepy. The lane was almost deserted with an occasional passerby once in five minutes, but we saw in the balconies and the windows of those humble old houses sat grandmothers and grandfathers.
The grannies and granddads were not alone. They were given company by actress Bina Rai and actor Pradeep Kumar of Bollywood movie Anarkali (1953).
I wonder how many times has this house been photographed. The older it gets the better it becomes.
We all have 2 eyes right? Apart from the Hindu Gods and Goddesses I don’t know of any other creature who flaunts of the ‘eye of insights’ so openly!
But now the Hindu deity Lord Shiva will know where to go in case his third eye troubles him.
Who will not want to walk in these shops when the shutters are so inviting? The next time we visit Bandra we will make sure to grab a bite here!
I don’t know where but I have seen this weirdo figure somewhere! De-focus on the bizarre graffiti for a while and concentrate on the top left corner of the photo. Do you notice those plants hanging from the Carlsberg beer cans?
So the next time you get yourself a beer you know what to do with the can!
We don’t know who he is, just found him on the walls of a house. If you know him, please comment in the post below and increase my knowledge!
Looks like residents of the Chapel Road are indeed quite fond of elephants. I don’t blame them; I find elephants both strong and cute.
Enroute To Bandstand
The cobble stoned Chapel Road finally came to an end and after a few twists and turns we ended up on the branching road to Bandstand. Walking downhill will lead to the sea and walking uphill will take one to the Mount Mary’s Basilica.We found some artsy staircases at this point.
We were so surprised when a little way downhill we met Mr. Amitabh Bachhan.
After a brief interaction with him, we bid farewell to him and paced down towards the Arabian Sea, which was already visible now. As we kept on walking, a vehicle honked its horn. I got scared and turned around to save myself from any possible accident which may force me to enlist my blog under ‘wheelchair travel’ niche.
Well, on turning around I found Rajesh Khanna staring at me!
We hope to return in this place very soon as we believe there may be more of such murals waiting for us to get discovered!
Do you live in Chapel Road Bandra? Do you happen to know someone who lives in Chapel Road? Get in touch with us we would love to know more about your neighbourhood!
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