Mumbaiwale: Anda cell, Shiva in the slums, and new sights on the monorail
Seventeen stops; 19 kilometres. Trains every 22 minutes. Ticket prices that range from Rs 10 to Rs 40. And grinning joyriders.
I was one of them last week, going back and forth between Chembur and Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk. We passed slums, of course, and marshy pits, mangroves and concrete jungle. I’ve seen more washing machines in balconies than I expected. But we also sailed over flyovers, past lawns, bazaars, saltpans, and landmarks old and new.
Here are some of the sights...
Arthur Road Jail and the Anda Cell
On your left, just as the coach leaves Sant Gadge Maharaj station. See that circular structure? That’s the infamous Anda Cell of Arthur Road jail, which houses the worst inmates in oval-shaped solitary confinement booths. As a friend points out: this is the closest you can get to the Anda Cell without being a cop or a criminal.
India United Mills No 1
One of the last remnants of the mill district in Central Mumbai. While a mill and textile museum is in the works at the United Mills no 2 and 3 further south in Kalachowkie, this one, where the Monorail rides over the lalbaug flyover, lies unused and may probably be developed as an open space or a plot for affordable housing.
Look left AND right as the coach leaving Ambedkar Nagar swerves right towards Naigaon. The gorgeous Nowrosjee Wadia Maternal Hospital and the Bai Jerbai Wadia hospital for children were designed by George Wittet, who also designed the Gateway of India, the Prince of Wales Museum and National Gallery of Modern Art. I spotted six domes. Can you see more?
Lord Shiva rising from the slums
Look out for him on the right side as the monorail passes a vast outcrop of slums between Antop Hill and GTB Nagar. Look closely. He’s smiling too.
Metro Rail castings
When Line 3 of the Metro is finally complete, it will be fully underground. These U-shaped blocks are what will be used to build the tunnels it passes through. You’ll spot several casting yards between Bhakti Park and Mysore Colony stations.
Refineries and greenery
Perhaps no other station gives you such a stark difference between the right and left windows as Mysore Colony. On the right are the Bharat Petroleum oil refineries, rows of man-made units, pump houses, pipelines and tanks gleaming in the sun. On the other side, it’s all green. The BPCL Refinery Sports Club, open air gym, lawns and maidan make you almost forget the refinery on the other side.