Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

One hundred years of gratitude Cover announcing the special mass to mark the centenary year of Spanish missionaries in India Fifteen years ago, 12 of them graced this city – the last Spanish priests, in St Stanislaus (Bandra), St Mary’s (Mazagaon) and St Xavier’s (Fort). Lucky to have met some of them, I stay struck by their beliefs and extraordinary dedication. This week, a special mass at Holy Family Church, Chakala, commemorated a century since Spanish Jesuits arrived in India. Priests planted faith along India’s west coast from across the globe. The Portuguese…Read more
Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Tale of a tangy treat The paperweight gift at the spice giant’s centenary (1883-1983) function, embossed with the trademark ship motif   An especially wet week, at the end of the season suited to snacking on hot bhajias and vadas with chutney, is the right time to recap a spicy story. I was researching a column on Cinema Road, which backs Metro theatre. Cornering the lane is May Rose Restaurant, at one end of Kapadia Chambers. Formerly called Ava Chambers, the 1938 property first belonged to Gustad Khodadad Irani. While his wife’s name graced…Read more
Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Olympians and Bandraites Leo Pinto, gold-winning field hockey goalkeeper at the 1948 Olympics, presented a plaque by Homi Dastoor on his retirement from Tatas. Pic courtesy Meher Marfatia It’s a heady feeling we’re left with, fresh from the power and glory tasted by some of the 56 women athletes – the country’s largest ever female contingent – at the recent Tokyo Olympics. Did you know, the presence of our women at the Olympics owes a great deal to a dance. Mary D’Souza, India’s first woman Olympian and Double International, was a student and…Read more
Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

United We Stood Fitting to start this anniversary month of Independence with mention of a unifying communication tool, rooted in the power of peace. A fast-fading ideal today. Kulsum Sayani with her sons Ameen (left) and Hamid, outside their Kemp’s Corner home in the 1940s Founded in 1942 by Gandhiji, the Hindustani Prachar Sabha conducted classes in spoken Hindi and Urdu, so promoting Hindustani as a link language. Dadabhai Naoroji’s granddaughter, Perin Captain, lived above Orient Club at Chowpatty. She helmed Sabha activities from neighbouring Adenwalla Mansion.   A companion newspaper advocating Hindustani as…Read more
Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

When Yusuf Saab came calling With the world no longer graced by Dilip Kumar, I recollect some interviewees sharing encounters with the thespian. Photo: Movie Poster of Anokha Pyar (1948) – featuring Dilip Kumar with Nargis and Nalini Jaywant In La Kozy Mansion, the 1891-designed Chowpatty seafront gem with a sparkling white jharokha-and-jaali facade, I learnt that filmmaker MI Dharamsey once occupied a top-storey flat. Dharamsey directed Dilip Kumar for Anokha Pyar, with Nargis and Nalini Jaywant. That casting coup inadvertently brought the matinee idol to perfumer Shishir Mehta’s home a floor below.…Read more
Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahani

Camera, lights, action! Some precious nuggets can hit a writer casually. As I left the Chowpatty flat of Shailesh Sheth in Stone Building, with delicate balcony grilles and Italian marble interiors, he said, “My maternal grandfather, Dayaram Shah, was elder brother to Chandulal Shah of Ranjit Movietone.” Delighted, I stepped right back again into the apartment. How hadn’t he mentioned this while chatting for an hour? The Sheths understate an exciting cinema legacy. Ranjit Movietone was a great institution of the studio era, along with Bombay Talkies, New Theatres and Prabhat Films. Dayaram,…Read more
Piyo Chai, Suno Kahaani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahaani

Photo : "Detail of the ornamental fountain base of the cast iron Khada Parsi statue, showing water nymphs" by Viji Venkatesh A statue, a school and a moment cool With the school year changing, I’m reminded of a conversation about one of Bombay’s pioneer educationists, on Clare Road, Byculla. The north end of this street – named after John Fitzgibbon, 2nd Earl of Clare, Governor of Bombay from 1831 to 1835 – is marked by the Khada Parsi statue. I chatted with Vali Mohamed, sitting at Patel Newspaper Stall since 1971. As I…Read more
Piyo Chai, Suno Kahaani

Piyo Chai, Suno Kahaani

Betting on Barsaat Mumbadevi tank and temple, neighbourhood of 19th-century barsaat ka satta. Photo courtesy: Farooq Issa/Phillips Antiques This is the time of year everyone starts guessing when the monsoon will finally arrive, to relieve us of the heat. Do you know, 1880s Bombay had an elaborately organised monsoon gambling system called “barsaat ka satta”? Here’s a fine description from one who got the story from close quarters. I hear it on a very rainy evening (sipping the cutting masala chai a Gujarati kitchen brews best) from Chira Bazaar resident Dilip Shah, sharing…Read more