A statue, a school and a moment cool

A statue, a school and a moment cool

Photo : "Detail of the ornamental fountain base of the cast iron Khada Parsi statue, showing water nymphs" by Viji Venkatesh 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 was writing about the area, he excitedly called…Read more
Betting on Barsaat

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 tales told by…Read more