Thursday(8/4/2021) :- The ” COVID -19″ pandemic has created a fad in Cycling although Mumbai’s roads are least cycle friendly and dangerous during peak traffic hours..As a regular hobby/ house errands cyclist since 1999 surprised that there are numerous ” Motorcycle repair” shops in every nook and corner of Mumbai but a total scarcity of ” Cycle repair shops “.In the entire Worli / Prabhadevi locality of my cycling range there are just 2 cycle repair shops and both closed.My cycle required urgent brake shoe pads adjustment/ replacement and cycled all the way to Mahim’s Lowharchawl to discover ” Munna Cycle repair shop” in a bylane of Wanja Wadi.A young kid got my cycle serviced and back to brand new condition.Also realized that Mahim Loharchawl locality hasn’t modernised much although multi skyscraper buildings are under construction in the vicinity.If in need of servicing your cycle and living in the vicinity of Mahim then visit ” Munna Cycle repair shop” situated in Wanja Wadi of Loharchawl in Mahim.
Wednesday(13/1/2021) A Tourist in Mumbai :- Bombay now Mumbai is a city once divided into various segments based on communities and DONGRI is one such locale in the heart of South Mumbai. ⁸Believe it or not but in 52 years of my lifetime in Mumbai this was my first visit to “DONGRI LOCALITY” although i spent 7 years of my lifespan in nearby Byculla locality.”MAKAR SANKRANTI” is synonymous with kite flying all over India and DONGRI in Mumbai was World famous for producing the best kites and “Manja( Kite Thread)” in India. Rode the short 8 Kms distance in heavy traffic from my residence on Old Prabhadevi road to J.J. Hospital and at the first left turn on reaching the hospital road end headed left onto the street leading to Dongri. Absolutely congested with traffic and people and thankfully got my bearings right in discovering the “KITE SHOPS OF DONGRI”.The landmark ” MUGHAL MASJID(Masjid-E-Iranian)” built in the 1860’s situated on Imamwada road is the locale in which the kite shops are situated. Visited the “Dongri Kite Centre” ,first kite shop situated just next to the iconic masjid and was surprised to know that this was the oldest kite shop having been in business since 1942. Spoke to the owner Mr Mohammed. Malik. Ansari sitting at the main counter of this small unassuming shop. Different kites were on display inside the shop while a worker was busy producing ‘Kite Manja(Kite Thread )” on a “Phirki (Kite string bobpin roller)”. Memories of my childhood right upto 1975 rushed through my mind. As a kid i flew kites in Mombasa(Kenya) and later on migrating to Bombay continued my passion of kites during our residency in Byculla chawl culture . In 1975 we shifted to Old Prabhadevi road and that’s when my kite flying stopped as no one flew kites in the flat culture of our building. Is kite flying dying a slow death in Mumbai ? Yes. I personally feel so as even with binoculars i don’t see kites in the skies of the plush localities of Mumbai.Even in the remaining chawls of Mumbai it seems flying kites is no more the seasonal passion in the era of smart phones and Internet games. Change is Permanent ? From “Dongri Kite Centre” shop walked a few meters ahead and came across “Indian Fighter Kites” established in 1972. Identical to “Dongri Kite Centre” but slightly bigger .A little ahead from “Indian Fighter Kites” was the last kite shop on “Imamwada Road” , a total of only three kite shops on this road which explains the decline in the kite flying business. After a visit to the “KITE SHOPS” rode leisurely along the narrow road of Dongri passing alongside “St Joseph’s School” and later stopping at “Dongri Market”. As usual ended my short tour of “DONGRI” with a visit to the fish market where a giant fish was in the process of dissection for purchasers. Ahoy !
NOTE :- Below are photos of the Denpasar Kite festival of 2014 .Having travelled across 81 country’s at the time of writing here are memoirs of travelling across Indonesia in 2014. On Sunday(31/8/2014) during a day’s visit to Denpasar in Bali was at the right place at the right time and come across a KITE FESTIVAL COMPETITION with Kite aficionados flying giant sized kites . For the first time in my life got to hold the twine string of a 7 feet tall kite and feel the wind power on this giant kite.
Having travelled across 81 Country’s feel ashamed to admit that i have not explored the iconic landmarks in my own backyard of PRABHADEVI/WORLI KOLIWADA. How many have seen the “Anus” of Mumbai’s drainage system ? There are 8 different “SEWAGE DISPOSAL” zones in Mumbai of which the “WORLI ” and “COLABA” sewage system are the oldest On Monday(4/1/2021) while on my normal cycling exercise around “Worli Seaface-Pochkhanawalla(Worli Hill)(Mt Everest Circuit !) ” road on my return home stopped at the “SLUICE GATE DRAWBRIDGE” situated next to the main entrance gate of Indian Coast Guard missile battery base “I.N.S Trata” . 18 storey “Harsiddhi Heights” towers above the “Worli-Koliwada’ fishing wharf, the tallest building in the vicinity. No tall buildings are allowed in the vicinity of “I.N.S TRATA” due to security reasons of the Indian Navy.Got a wonderful view of the small fishing boats anchored in the tiny basin of the “Sluice Gate drawbridge”. Amazing and ironic that sadly thanks to the “Covid-19 Travel Lockdown” i am a tourist in my own city of Mumbai.
Next day on Tuesday(5/1/2021) visited “Worli fish wharf” in the morning . Believe it or not that staying in the vicinity for 45 years this was the “BONNY(FIRST)” day of my visit to “Worli Koliwada Fishing Wharf”. “Covid-19 Travel Lockdown” has made me rediscover my own city and locality, a tourist rediscovering my own backyard . When “COVID-19 ” first struck Mumbai city it was “WORLI KOLIWADA” village that bore the brunt of this pandemic and was the first locality in entire Mumbai to be put under a “CURFEW LOCKDOWN”. Terrible tragedy followed with numerous deaths within this mass populated village and thankfully in 2021 the village has eradicated “Covid-19″ although still a pandemic in other localities of Mumbai.WORLI KOLIWADA FISHING WHARF” is situated in the small sheltered basin of the length of the “SLUICE GATE DRAWBRIDGE” of “Worli Gutter”.“Harsiddhi Heights”, a 18 storey’s towering skyscraper building built right above the “Worli Gutter” channel route is the landmark building in the vicinity overlooking the wharf and Indian Navy battery base “I.N.S Trata”.These small fishing boats catch small fish and occasionally lobsters which sell at Rs 1,100/Kg. The fisher folk of Worli Koliwada village have noticed a drastic drop in fish catch after the construction of the “Bandra-Worli Sea Link” and proof was in this pitiable catch of early morning fishing business where its difficult to recoup fuel cost let alone profit to the boat employee’s and owner. Could call this type of fishing business as subsistence fishing . Cycled back home with the cheapest fish for courtesy of my first visit. Have eaten numerous lobsters of this size during my 2 years (1999-2000) employment on “J.N.P.T Tugs(Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust)” at Nhava Sheva .One of the Tug’s crew was an expert fisherman and when the tug was anchored off the port wharf he would use his “CRAB NET” to catch lobsters and crabs which he would later sell. Once he caught the largest black crab i have seen in my life that weighed a few kilo’s and which he sold to a 5 star hotel.A real monster of a crab which i presume would never see in my life again. Ahoy !
Later at home got the fish cooked.After 45 years of living in Old Prabhadevi locality for the first time I was having seafood with fish purchased directly from Worli Koliwada Fish Jetty .
Mondjay(28/12/2020)A Tourist in Mumbai :- Visited ” MATHARPACADY VILLAGE ” in Mazagon.Was surprised that having lived in Byculla for 7 years, schooled in Byculla and later 4 years “Marine Engineering Apprenticeship” in Mazgon Docks and yet never knew that one of Mumbai’s unique villages existed in Mazgon.A local gave me directions to the various prominent locales within this quaint village and entered the village through the lane facing “Lion’s Den”, a popular landmark, and home of the Leo family sporting two stone lions flanking the entrance. Strolling across the quaint East Indian village met the owner of a prominent bungalow in this village. He explained me a bit of the local history of this village and he lived along with his brothers in a palatial bungalow, unbelievable in 21st century Mumbai.A Inherited bungalow built in 1880 and requiring expensive maintenance. Hence most of the ancestral East Indian Catholics have sold their bungalows for development as buildings and in the process a few cheated.The Holy Cross Oratory in this village was built by the residents in the late 1890s when Bombay was struck by plague and praying at this oratory has been going on for over a century.This village was officially awarded a “GRADE III” heritage structure but sadly has disintegrated in certain sections with cottages giving way to modern concrete buildings and encroachments. The ancestral house of Bombay’s First Mayor Mr Joseph.Baptista who was born in this village is today a modern residential concrete building. There is a huge large abandoned well within this village that thankfully has fish and turtles.The “Eymard Cottage” , ancestral house of the “Miranda Family” was donated to the “Blessed Sacrament Provincialate’ and is now used as a chapel for prayers. Migration to foreign country’s by most of the village resident relatives and at times lack of funds for maintenance of these palatial bungalows is what is leading to “Matharpacady Village” gradually disintegrating and hope there is a revival in restoring this heritage village in the heart of Downtown concrete jungle Mumbai.
Monday(28/12/2020)A Tourist in Mumbai:- At Classic gem of a village ” KHOTACHI WADI” in congested locality of Girgaon in Downtown Mumbai.Totally camafloge entrance from the narrow main road into this unbelievable village .” BUNGALOW N0 58″ a palatial bungalow greets your eyes as you enter this village with a tiny ” JESUS GROTTO” facing this bungalow.In KHOTACH I WADI the bungalows dont have names but NUMBERS.Among the most iconic structures besides ” Bungalow N0 58″ is ” BUNGALOW N0 47 G” of prominent fashion designer Mr James.Ferreira.Next to James .Ferreira bungalow is a lodging hotel” GIRGAON PALACE” with a rental of Rs 2000/Day .
KHOTACHI WADI” village is truly a Oasis in the midst of the skyscraper concrete jungle of Downtown Mumbai.During the Christmas festive season visit this village at night to view the lighted Christmas Decor
Hope this village is preserved.Ahoy !
Thanks to “FACEBOOK” got to read about “Probably Paradise Shelter” and Ms Roxanne .Davur who owns and manages this shelter and hence decided to visit the same before the onset of the Monsoons.
On Monday(10/6/2019) rode 80 Kms on my “Bullet 350” from my residence in Prabhadevi to Takwe village in Karjat to visit the “PROBABLY PARADISE SHELTER” owned and managed by Ms Roxanne.Davur. Reached the shelter at 0930 hrs greeted by the loud barking of dog’s at the entrance gate.Ms Roxanne.Davur is a elderly Parsi lady who has now devoted her life to maintaining a shelter for destitute and abandoned animals on her 1.5 acres land in Takwe village of Karjat.
She had a successful career in the airlines and hotel Industry and trained as a master trainer in animal welfare in Delhi later working in Ooty as a “Animal Welfare Inspector” and a “Racecourse Inspector” at the Ooty Racecourse.
She started this shelter in Takwe village of Karjat in December 2012 and is helped by the locals of Takwe village in daily maintenance of this sprawling complex which costs Rs 6 lakhs/month in maintenance alone.
I was the only visitor early in the morning and she explained me the basic layout and management of this private amazing animal shelter where discarded pets and street casualty animals can live the rest of their lives in this Paradise for animals.
In human terms i would compare it to a “Old Age Home” for pet’s and abandoned domesticated animals.We humans have a tendency to treat pets as commodities that can be abandoned and tragically most abandoned pets die miserable deaths as they cannot survive on the streets or wild akin to feral dogs or cats .
Most important is that all the dog’s and cat’s get along together although the cat’s due to their vast numbers have a separate cattery enclosure.
The animals at times are medicated by Ms Roxanne.Davur herself and during my short visit she administered a intravenous saline medication to “Ebony” , a abandoned mix breed that had suffered a heart attack at night .
Roxanne.Davur has led a very privileged life and lifestyle and is still in touch with the “Who’s Who” of the “Horse racing and Celebrity” world and at times donations from the wealthy do help in supporting the “Probably Paradise Shelter” that is unique in our Country where most philanthropists donate wealth only towards “Human Hospitals” or “Human Welfare”.
On Thursday( 9/2/2017) Roxanne.Davur was recognized for her charitable work towards the welfare of animals and awarded the “Yes Foundation Everyday Hero Award -2016” in the presence of Union Minister of Railways Mr Suresh.Prabhu ,actor Abhishek.Bachchan and the founder chairman of GMR group Mr G.M .Rao.
Since the purchase of the Royal Enfield “Bullet 350” motorcycle in March 2016 its been a addiction of long distance motorcycle cruising after my 11 days 2000 Kms epic riding odyssey from Mumbai to Barkur and back to Mumbai.
Thanks to “FACEBOOK” got to read about “Probably Paradise Shelter” and Ms Roxanne .Davur who owns and manages this shelter and hence decided to visit the same before the onset of the Monsoons.On Monday (10/6/2019) rode 80 Kms on my “Bullet 350” from my residence in Prabhadevi to Takwe village in Karjat to visit the “PROBABLY PARADISE SHELTER” owned and managed by Ms Roxanne.Davur.
Had been on a solo motorcycle ride from Mumbai to Barkur and back to Mumbai on my “Bullet 350 Black BS IV” with in-between rest-stops of a few days in Goa. On my return ride from Barkur to Mumbao on Monday(6/5/2018) had a 2 day stop-over at Margao.On Tuesday(7/5/2019) decided to explore some of the locales in Margao while cruising the city on my motorcycle.Just rode my bike randomly around the main city circle towards Holy Spirit church and came across some old Portuguese era bungalows .Stopped my bike in the vicinity of Modsai village and just strolled aimlessly wandering and admiring the architecture of these beautiful palatial bungalows. A gentleman on a scooter stopped besides me and i was lucky to have a chance meeting with socialist activist writer and tiatrist Mr Godfrey.J.I.Gonsalves.