.We were in Goa for a few days to attend a family wedding and were residing at Tropicana beach resort at Candolim. Have been to Goa numerous times ,twice on my iconic “Royal Enfield Bullet 350″and as a nomadic traveller during my random google research at home in Mumbai learnt about a new museum established in Goa.”All About Alcohol” showcasing the state drink of Goa “Feni” was in close proximity to our hotel in Candolim and definitely deserved a visit.Photo :- “ALL ABOUT ALCOHOL” museum guide Mr Armando explaining to us tourist’s. Due to “Covid 19 Pandemic ” wearing a face mask was mandatory. On Saturday(4/9/2021) Cousin Steven. D’silva and myself walked the distance from Tropicana beach resort to ” ALL ABOUT ALCOHOL MUSEUM” situated on Candolim main road heading towards Siolem. I had ridden the length and breadth of this route during my motorcycle tour of Goa in 2019. On arrival at the museum found it empty with the glass door closed and thought the museum was closed and about to make a about turn for some other sightseeing. My strong sixth sense made me enquire with the cafeteria situated next to the museum about the closed museum.To our astonishment was told it was open and a gentleman led us to the glass door and into “All About Alcohol “” museum. Above Photo :- The vintage museum Tavern barman Mr Lionel. Gomes giving us tourists a demonstration on tasting “BLENDED FENI” .The Feni is blended with different spices like clove, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and served with different snacks, like pineapple,olive,chilly and citrus fruit Entry is free and we were the Bonny(Hindi slang for first) tourists of the evening and bizarrely after we entered two loaded tourist car’s arrived and a group of tourists made their entry into the museum. Guide Mr Armando had to tell the other tourists to wait for the next round of tour.This is the first and only alcohol museum in India that is dedicated to the State drink of Goa ,” FENI”, which in 2016 was notified as the State drink of Goa. This private museum situated in plush Candolim and spread across a single storey tiled roof 13,000 Sq ft bungalow building is owned by businessman Mr Nandan.Kudchadkar, a antique collector and definitely a wealthy and widely travelled man having travelled to 89 country’s ,eight more than my personal count of 81.It was during his travels across the Globe that Mr Nandan.Kudchadkar got the idea of setting up a alcohol museum in Goa dedicated to “FENI”. Ahoy ! It opened just a fortnight ago on Friday ( 13/8/2021) and is dedicated to showcasing and explaining the invention, development , distillation and method of consumption of Feni in Goa. Historically the cashew nut plant from whose fruit “Feni” is derived was imported to Goa sometime in 1700’s from Brazil by the Colonial Portuguese rulers. It had been raining on/off in Goa and luckily we were in the museum during a heavy downpour.Call it providence or being at the right place at the right time. We were first given a guided tour by Mr Armando who took us through different sections of the 5 rooms of this large museum with each section having a different historical showcase account of “Feni”..He explained us the importance of “FENI” in Goan culture where it is considered a hospitality welcome drink for guests and not as a source of intoxication to get stone drunk. .This museum has glass garafaos(Vats) , drinking glasses and various Feni processing utensils with a few dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, the same explained by guide Mr Armando. We were also explained the distillation process of “Feni” , totally different from wine or whisky distillation as also the fumigation process .”Cashew Feni” is distilled from the fermented juice extracted from the cashew fruit.The Cashew tree’s are grown on leased Government land by the cashew farmers who harvest the fruit every season. The extracted juice is fermented and distilled using traditional equipment with the first distillation extract being a popular mildly intoxicating summer drink called “URAK”.On “Double distillation” the final end product “FENI” is formed, a drink unique to Goa and Goan culture.A similar process is used to produce “Coconut FenI’ extracted from Palm toddy.Toward’s the end of the tour we were taken to the section that housed a “Goan Tavern” with the hung petromax lamps reminding me of Petromax fishing in the Sitanadi river of Barkur in Udupi district of Karnataka.There is not much difference between Goan and Mangalorian Catholic culture and we Christians as a total form just 2% of the entire Indian population. In the Goan Tavern we were given a lecture on “Feni Cocktails” and the manner and method of sipping Feni along with snacks by Tavern bar-man Mr Lionel.Gomes. After the “Feni” tasting session took a few photographs for my travelogue and headed onto the street with the rain taking a break and providence keeping us dry .Reminded me of the visit to a winery in Cape Town in South Africa. A must visit museum if visiting Goa .On my way back home to Mumbai carted the “Feni ” bottles shown in the photo below and will sip the same as taught in the vintage “Goan Tavern” in “All About Alcohol” museum.Travel educates !
During the last 17 years since 2004 after the demise of my mother circumstances forced me to become a regular visitor to the ” Kharude Worli Fish market” for purchasing fish, my favourite non-vegetarian food. As a adventure traveller was a fan of the Fish angler series ” River Monsters” by Jeremy Wade on ” Animal Planet” that showed him unravelling real life fish mysteries a la Sherlock Holmes of the fishing world while solving cases of monster fish across the Globe.His research in fish crime detection included visiting local fish markets and hence didn’t find my regular daily morning fish purchasing job mundane. Ahoy ! During my rounds of the market visiting various fish vendor’s was saddened as well as amazed by the large number of resident stray cats of this fish market as also in fish market’s all over Mumbai .Much before becoming a fan of ” RIVER MONSTERS” my solo travel across different city’s around the globe always had the local “Fish Market” visit on my sightseeing agenda , be it Africa, Asia or Europe .At the time of writing have visited 81 country’s and almost entire India .Over the years spotted some really rare beautiful stray cat’s at my home city “Kharude Worli market” as also across various locales in Mumbai city. On Monday(22/7/2021) during the “Covid 19″ restrictions managed to photograph this stray cat pictured in the photo which is a prime attraction for it’s beautiful coat coloration. In a normal ” CAT SHOW” sure this cat could win a prize in the ” Indie cat breed” .It also has a good temperament and very well behaved akin to a pet house cat. Also photographed the beautiful stray Calico cat sitting next to it shown ith the photo below..To blow my own trumpet thanks to my write-ups and blogs over the years that Mr Shree.Nair , a pet journalist in the Middle East responded to my blogs and we together along with a few other cat enthusiast successfully established India’s first cat club “Indian Cat Federation” with Mr Shree.Nair being the President of the newly formed cat club.FINALLY MY PERSONAL BLOGS AND AWARENESS OF CREATING A “CAT CLUB” IN INDIA HAD PROVED EFFECTIVE AND Mr SHREE.NAIR FOUNDED THE “INDIAN CAT FEDERATION” IN BANGALORE .NOW ONLY HOPE THAT CAT SHOWS ARE HELD IN OTHER INDIAN CITY’S INCLUDING MUMBAI, AKIN TO DOG SHOWS. Mumbai city had its first “International cat show” on 27th Saturday and 28th Sunday September 2014 at the “Stallions Banquets” in Prabhadevi, walking distance from my home .Couldn’t display my 2 Long hair Doll Face Persian cats “Matahari” and “Matata” as “Matahari” was recovering from a illness while “Matata” had the temperament of a wild Serval, totally unfit for display or handling at a “Cat Show”. Mrs Anneliza.Hackmann(President of World cat Federation, Germany) was the chief judge assisted by Dr Johan.Lamprecht ( South Africa) and Petra.Muller(President of Middle East cat society) while Mr Shree.Nair( President of Indian cat Federation) organized this entire landmark cat show. PHOTO ABOVE :- A beautiful stray cat on the “CAT WALK” along the footpath of Prabhadevi road in Mumbai .
It was during this cat show that the idea germinated of developing the stray Indian street cat into a International cat breed and name it the ” Indian Billi Cat or Indian Mau cat “.PHOTO ABOVE :- ” Champa” our resident building cat whom i have been tracking since the last 7 years is absolutely intelligent and as docile as a house bred pet cat. A candidate for the model of “Indie Mau cat“.
The Bombay veterinary college along with “Indian cat Association” would be doing research work on the “Mumbai street cat(Stray)” and hoped to create a recognized street cat breed called “BILLI(Cat in Hindi language)” in a few years akin to the “Arabian Mau” created by Mrs Petra .Muller. PHOTO ABOVE :- Building resident cat Champa’s companion who i named “Scrapper” , a semi wild stray afraid of humans and used to always sit next to “Champa” in the building compound.Here he is seen in the 2-wheeler garage about to run on seeing me approach him for a photograph. A very stocky compact built cat .
During Mumbai’s first cat show in 2014 had a talk with German Petra.Muller(President of Middle East cat association[MECATS]) and was amazed to learn that she lived with 325 cats in her villa in Dubai. In 2008 she was responsible for getting the natural street cat of U.A.E/Dubai as a recognized breed by the ” World Cat Federation” after conducting 5 years of research and breeding of this local cat breed.This cat was named the “Arabian Mau” cat. She has also published a book on this cat breed and “National Geographic” did a documentary on this new cat breed finally giving it International recognition. So we in India decided to replicate Mrs Petra Muller’s “Arabian Mau” by giving the Cat World our very own local bred “Billi Cat(Indian Billi/Mau”. Yes, definitely a “Copy Cat Idea”. Ahoy !PHOTO ABOVE :- A stray blue eyed cat outside the famed “Gallop’s Restaurant” at the Mahalaxmi racecourse in Mumbai. Seems to be having some eye infection. Most stray cat’s live a short miserable life , especially the fish market cat’s.
Sponsorships is essential for any product, Industry as also for a “Cat Club” to survive and was sad to finally realize that after just a few years since its inception in 2013 “Indian Cat Federation” had become dormant as a cat club with the “CAT SHOWS” coming to a abrupt end.In its dormant form the “Indian Cat Federation” set the trend and showed the path for other like minded cat fanciers who were once members of “Indian Cat Federation” to continue the trend of cat shows in India akin to dog shows. PHOTO ABOVE :- A free living outdoors cat that had a collar and was tracking a squirrel that was chirping on this huge Banyan tree situated outside our building entrance gate.This cat had a collar and hence was not a stray but someone’s pet and allowed to roam freely outdoors, a rare privilege for cats in Mumbai’s concrete jungle .
After the abrupt disappearance of “Indian Cat Federation” the cat shows were organized by the newly formed “Alliance of Cat fanciers” based in Bangalore and the “Feline Club of India” based in Mumbai.PHOTO ABOVE :- “Mango” the latest edition to our building compound of “Resident Stray cats” appeared out of the blue in early 2020 during the “COVID 19” lockdown and was accepted by resident stray cat’s “Champa” and “Scrapper”. Here in 2021 he is a full grown cat displaying his magnificent canines akin to a “Big Cat”. Ironically he has displaced “Scrapper” as the dominant resident male stray cat who now lives on the fringes of the building garden estate. It’s similar to a young tiger taking over the territory of the older resident tiger in the wild jungle.Cat’s are identical replica’s of their bigger cousins in habit and temperament. Thanks to the observation of our very own building stray cat’s that i got to study the behavior of free roaming stray cat’s.
The promoter of “Alliance of Cat Fanciers” Mr Sudhi.Katikineni of Bangalore is a certified judge of the “World Cat Federation” and akin to “Indian Cat Federation” he conducted a few shows under the “World Cat Federation” registration. The President of “Feline Club of India” Mr Saquib.Pathan has definitely given “Cat Shows” and “Cat Awareness” a giant leap in the common public mind by conducting cat seminars, cat shows and “Cat webinars” and he has actively taken over the baton from “Indian Cat Federation” to canvas for legitimizing the creation and recognition of the “Indian Mau”.
PHOTO ABOVE :- My daily visits to the “Kharude Worli Fish Market” in Mumbai made me aware of the plight of the stray free living cats that have made the fish market their permanent home.My face is covered with a mask due to “Covid 19” pandemic prevention precautions which also gave me ample time to observe these stray market cats as the market was less crowded than in normal times.The average lifespan of most of these cats is half of the lifespan of a average pet house cat. Also observed some of the most beautiful “Indie Cat” specimens among this pack of fish market cats.
Hope i live to see the “INDIAN MAU(BILLI)” as a International recognized breed akin to the “ARABIAN MAU” during my lifetime or if not hope some day in the distant future as the “Cat Fancy” groups as well as “Cat Shows” in India grow in numbers akin to “Dog Shows”. .
Is this a cat or a melanistic black panther which was the inspiration for cat breeders producing the “BOMBAY CAT ” breed ? Sunday(11/7/2021) will forever be a important day etched in the mind of sports fan’s all over the World as “Super Sunday” as the entire day had a programme of International sporting events. Confined to home and Mumbai due to “Covid 19 Travel Lockdown” in India and various parts of the Globe kept fit by exercising at home and a walk around our gardened building condomonium “Vaibhav Apartments” at Old Prabhadevi road in Mumbai.This part of the city does have some greenery and the building itself has a large green garden.
On that evening during my walk around the building suddenly sighted a large stocky jet black cat passing alongside a parked car.Stalked it in our building garden akin to stalking a panther in a jungle .Seems it was accustomed to humans and didn’t bolt away as I approached it for my ” CAT MODEL” photo shoot . The Bombay cat is a type of short-haired cat developed by breeding the Sable Burmese cat and black American Shorthair cat, to produce a cat of mostly Burmese type, but with a sleek, panther like black coat akin to this beautiful stray cat in our building compound.This cat was a beautiful specimen of the stray ” Indian Billi” and definitely in the pique of health.Spotted this large Tomcat for the first time in our building compound.The “BOMBAY CAT” breed was developed by Nikki Horner, a breeder from Kentucky , who, starting in 1958, attempted to create a breed of cat that resembled a miniature black panther like this common stray cat i was tracking in distant Bombay now Mumbai.The first attempt was a failure, but the second, in 1965, was successful. The breed was officially recognized and registered by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1970 and “The International Cat Association” in 1979. Nikki Horner died in 1995 and although the pedigree breed he founded “Bombay Cat” has no connection to the city of Bombay absolutely sure the “Leopards” resident to Mumbai’s national park was his inspiration to name it “BOMBAY”.Felt like I was in the “Sanjay Gandhi National ” park in distant Borivali locality of Mumbai rather than a private building compound situated in the heart of concrete jungle Mumbai.
In mourning to note that ” COVID 19 TRAVEL LOCKDOWN” besides claimimg human lives has claimed a landmark Flamenco institution of Madrid city, ,the permanent closure on Thursday 4 March 2021 of ” TABLAO VILLA ROSA”. In 2017 had spent my last night of my 28 day’s solo European tour at this landmark Flamenco institution before departing for Mumbai the next day. The “Tablao Villa Rosa” was founded in 1919 and is one of the oldest Tablaos(Flamenco Venues) in Madrid. Its peak Golden years were in the 1920’s and has closed several times during its history and has finally been operating as a Tablao Flamenco and restaurant since 1996. American Writer Ernest .Hemingway, actress Ava Gardner and the bullfighter Luis Miguel Dominguin were some of the celebrities who frequented this Tablao during its golden years. On Saturday(8/7/2017) after a excellent “Paella dinner” walked the short distance along the classis Las Lestras nighbourhood to reach destination “Tablao Villa Rosa”. On the way passed alongside the landmark Hotel ME(Madrid Reina Victoria) which is just a stone’s throw away from Tablao Villa Rosa .Since its opening in 1923 the “Gran Hotel Reina Victoria” became the hotel of bullfighter’s and my research indicates that Spain’s greatest bullfighter Manolette ( 1917 – 1947) who permanently reserved “Room No 406” also frequented this Tablao unless he was superstitious about visiting Tablaos akin to his hotel room number. At the Flamenco show a free drink is provided with the entrance ticket.Video recording and Flash photography is strictly prohibited during the Flamenco shows.The ” Who’s who” of the Flamenco World have performed in the “Tablao Villa Rosa” over its long history in existence as Madrid’s oldest and top of the chart Tablao’s. The Flamenco show started punctually at 2300 hrs.There are a total of 5 artists who take their seats on the stage. Two women and one man are the Flamenco dancer’s. A guitarist strum’s the guitar sitting on the chair while a male singer sings songs.The introduction was through light guitar strumming by the guitarist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WezN-4JDDlg :- Click on the link to view a short snippet of the Flamenco dance . Flamenco dancing is based on the folk music traditions of Southern Spain.The oldest record of Flamenco dates to 1774.In recent years Flamenco dancing has become popular in non-Hispanic country’s like the United States and Japan.The Flamenco dancing i saw today at the “Tablao Villa Rosa” was something i saw for the first time in my life and absolutely different from the normal Hollywood style Flamenco. Notice the high heel shoes worn by the lady dancer as also the entire group on the stage. The Lady dancer was thumping her heels on the wooden floor to the sound of the music and singing beside’s taking acrobatic swift turn’s akin to a ballet artist. Two Female dancer’s performed the Flamenco in turn’s. Once one dancer did her role of dancing she went and sat on the chair and the next dancer continued with the flamenco dancing. Very seducing to describe the dance in simple word’s. No doubt the opera “CARMEN” is synonymous with Flamenco .The traditional Spanish Flamenco show consists of cante(Singing),toque(guitar Playing),baile(Dance),jaleo(vocalizations),palmas(handclapping) and pios(finger snapping)We had seen all these sequences being performed by the 5 member Flamenco troupe. The Grand Finale of the night was the performance by the lone male Flamenco dancer who resembled a actor in looks and physique. Akin to the women his foot movements were swift as also his foot stomping.Flamenco has both influenced and been influenced by ballet and this male dancer ‘s movement was akin to a ballet dancer. His last performance was with a scarf akin to a Torrero(Matador) playing with a fighting bull. I have read female reviews of male flamenco dancer’s and majority of the women were swooned by the sexual body movements of these dancers. Some of their descriptions is unprintable ! In traditional Flamenco youth is not considered a prime advantage unlike most other dance forms as a young man or woman cannot express the duende(soul) of the genre of dance music. Most Flamenco dancer’s peak in their thirties and continue to perform even in their fifties or beyond which speaks volumes of this dance form. At midnight the Flamenco show finally came to a end with the 5 member dance troupe making a grand exit from the stage. As for me the last night of my grand European tour was a night to remember. Walked the short distance to “Cat’s Hostel” my residence in Madrid with the street still filled with night revelers in the open air street cafe’s. Madrid rocks. Ahoy !
How many have a crow as a pet bird friend ? Since the “COVID -19 LOCKDOWN” in 2020 have been mostly confined to my house and strangely one particular crow developed a bond with me ,unbelievable but true. Reminded me of “Jake” the black crow owned by librarian Brooks.Hatlen in one of my all time favourite movies “Shawshank Redemption”. My favourite Indian cartoonist Late R.K.Laxman who invented “The Common Man” satire column in “Times of India” newspaper loved sketching crow’s and now I know the reason as he rightly said “Crow’s are more smarter than human’s” ! Having visited the “Tower of London” in May 2010 distinctly remember studying the “RAVENS” kept in the tower which are also superstitiously linked to a prophecy regarding the “British Throne”. Prophecy or superstition crows and ravens are definitely the smartest among birds and ” Tahatsu” proves this fact. I used to feed some morsels to crows from my kitchen and of these few crows one particular crow tested my human trust and literally became my non-human companion akin to a house pet. Named him “Tahatsu” as a tribute to Japanese culture from whom i did pick a few living habits during my ship board ports stays in Japanese ports when employed as a “Marine Engineer” on ocean sailing ships .On Friday(26/3/2021) decided to produce a candid video for posterity as all of us our mortal, be it the common crow having a average life-span of 10-12 years or myself from 61 years – to ???. Ahoy ! Above is the video filmed in my kitchen when Tahatsu” my free flying pet crow decided to act in a video clip specially produced for it .I am sure ” Tahatsu’s” is a male and unbelievable intelligent bringing back memories of my 22 year long lived non human companion bird Alexandrine parakeet ” Mittoo” . “Mittoo” was my companion since 1992 mysteriously expiring from a “Heart Attack” in March 2014. “Mittoo” had the IQ of a small human child and his loss devastating. The “Notional Sports” game on “Facebook” titled “Mittoo alias mittoo the poppat” launched when “Mittoo” was hale and heart and very much alive is today in 2021 a flyaway hit since years worth over 2 million U.S $ ! As a “SPECULATOR/INVESTOR” by profession my aim of starting this notional sports betting game was to create awareness of legalizing sports betting in India.When will sports betting be legalized in India ? Sadly Friday(4/6/2021) was one of the saddest day’s of my life as “Tahatsu” didn’t show up at the “Kitchen window” for his usual chatting and breakfast talk show which would continue with lunch and finally dinner morsels. Although he was a free living ordinary wild crow felt i had lost a long loved household pet as he was bizarrely similar in habits to “Mittoo” my 22 year old Alexandrine parakeet. I am a firm believer in the Lord Tennyson quote , ” It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all “. A big thank you to “Tahatsu” for its companionship and hope he is alive in some other part of the city as crows occasionally change locations. Worse is “Tahatsu” could also be dead as its disappearance was abrupt .Finally the unexpected happened and on Sunday(6/6/2021) early in the morning a disheveled sickly looking crow perched on my kitchen window pane and immediately realized this common crow was none other than “Tahatsu” as it was not afraid of my presence.. He was in some kind of pain and couldn’t crow as he would normally yell, scolding me to feed him. Put some food on the window sill and he immediately came over and ate it with great difficulty. Definitely sick and presumed he would die but happy that at least akin to a household companion pet he would die being cared for and not just a common crow. Next day on Monday(7/6/2021) he came over again in the morning and miraculously seemed in better condition than yesterday. Fed him and he did utter a short squawk also giving me the satisfaction of having cared nd cured him, akin to a veterinarian doctor. Above is the last photo of “Tahatsu” eating some nourishing home made “Cat Food” prepared for our joker of the house, “Tomcat Matata”.Now only hope “Tahatsu” regains its health and most importantly its voice .Sadly after Tuesday(10/6/2021) Tahatsu failed to show up and i am fearing the worst case that he has become a casualty. Truth is stranger than fiction especially if your non human companion is a free living common crow named “Tahatsu” :- Seafarer/Blogger/Traveller Rudolph.A.Furtado
A RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT AS ” TAHATSU” FLIES HOME AFTER PRESUMED DEAD .
Thursday(17-6-2021) :- They say a “CAT HAS 9 LIVES” but my research on my pet crow ” Tahatsu” has made me also add the fact that “CROWS ALSO HAVE 9 LIVES”. To day suddenly in the afternoon a crow appeared on my kitchen window sill and to my utter disbelief realized this crow was none other than my “Tahatsu” whom i had declared as dead and also written its obituary biography on various blog sites as few people have had a wild flying crow as a pet.I realized that this crow was not a impersonator since it was not afraid of me and immediately came close to me and accepted food.Strangely “Tahatsu” has lost its echo voice and mimicry but crow’s like a normal crow. Have posted dateline photo’s of “Tahatsu” in my kitchen and hope he regains his mimicry voice .Truth is stranger than fiction and now i have to rewrite the biography of “Tahatsu” .
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 !