It’s five in the evening and Neena Dhanvate (56), a homemaker, abruptly stops a conversation with her husband Vijay (61) to shut the windows and doors of her spacious terrace flat at Worli. The reason: it’s difficult to be heard or hear over the noise of the traffic below.
The newly-opened Bandra-Worli Sealink, which has been a boon for thousands of motorists, has increased the number of cars outside the Dhanvates’ building. “The traffic is maddening. You can’t think of stepping out during peak hours,” says Neena. Shutting the windows is also essential to keep her furniture from getting covered in the exhaust spewed by the cars. “The walls of our house turn black with the soot and the furniture has to be wiped every now and then,” she complains.
All this also means that the family can’t spend as much time as it would like to in its terrace garden. The locality itself has undergone a radical change. Once communist-leaning, it now dons a corporate look. The textile mills have been taken over by offices, malls and residential towers. The Dhanvates have been in Mumbai for a decade now and, says Neena, “Worli has changed a lot in these years. It was much more peaceful earlier.”
Open spaces are a rarity and the only place for walkers and joggers is the seaface. “But now the sea link exit cuts into the promenade,” says Sulekha Nirmal(46), a Worli resident.
The lack of sanitation is a constant problem, too. “Mosquitoes thrive here,” says Nirmal.
Though most of the area has enough water, the koliwada (fishermen’s colony) is facing a shortage new pipelines haven’t been able to solve.
“Our share seems to flowing into the homes of rich on Worli seaface,” says Vijay Worlikar (57), a koliwada resident.