Mumbai’s a fast-paced city — there is no doubting that. If you’ve grown up with fond memories of your friendly neighbourhood kirana shop, you are sure to have noticed that it’s now been replaced with supermarkets or shopping malls. And while we can’t do much about that, here are seven city places that we’d like to protect, even as they are on the verge of extinction.
1. Bandra’s nightclubs
In the city that never sleeps, it wasn’t unusual to start the evening with a film at G7, followed by a bite at one of the many eateries in Bandra or Khar, and end the evening at a pub that was open until the wee hours of the morning. That was the scene, until the authorities decided to clamp down on the suburb’s nightlife and make it a city of ‘early to bed, early to rise.’
2. Shivaji Park grounds
Despite being the breeding field, literally, of the country’s greatest sportman, Sachin Tendulkar, Shivaji Park hasn’t managed to produce another like him. That’s probably because the venue has now become a hotspot for political rallies and fairs. “The constant trampling has destroyed the cricket pitch,” says Vinaya Karnik, whose son used to play at the ground when it was still in good shape. However, there’s hope with the High Court banning rallies there. So can we see more Tendulkars please?
3. Britannia Restaurant
This iconic restaurant recently turned 90. And while other Irani joints in the city are downing their shutters, Britannia continues to draw crowds every afternoon for its signature dish — Berry Pulao. Boman Kohinoor, the 90-year-old owner, once famously said he would reveal the pulao’s secret recipe “only if you share the recipe of Coca Cola”. We hope that day never comes.
4. Bollywood studios
There was a time when ‘Bombay’ and ‘Bollywood’ were synonymous. The island city hosted film premieres and star-struck fans thronged the gates of studios to catch a glimpse of their favourite heartthrob. Since Bollywood has gone global and premieres have shifted to Dubai and Singapore, the city’s studios lay forgotten. Some have shut down for good, while others like Famous Studios at Mahalaxmi will be replaced by a skyscrapers. Bandra’s iconic Mehboob Studio has now opened up to music festivals, art events and whatnot. We hope they remain testaments to films.
5. Strand Bookstall
In May, city’s Twitterati was in mourning as rumours about Fort’s iconic Strand Book Stall shutting down started flooding in. Reports of the bookstore suffering major financial losses have been doing the rounds for a while, but thankfully, Vidya Virkar, who currently runs the store, denies shutting shop. She says, “Nonsense. This is just a malicious rumour.” Hurray!
6. Sewri Creek
Barring the Maharashtra Nature Park and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, there really isn’t much we can say when it comes to the city’s green schemes. Now the 22 km-long Sewri-Nhava trans-harbour link will pass through the Sewri mudflats, Thane creek and Shivaji Nagar, thus making our city’s annual visitors, the flamingoes’ pit-stop inaccessible.
7. Mumbai’s Forts
“Who knows about the forts within Mumbai?” says Sanjeev Vengurlekar from the Youth Hostels Association of India, Kandivali. Sanjeev, who recently organised a visit to the forts in Bandra, Mahim and Worli, feels now is the best time to explore. While restoration work is in full swing, most of these now dilapidated sites don’t find mention on the list of must-visit spots. What a shame!