Tuesday, August 18, 2009


When I was growing up at 233 Khetwadi Main Road http://digbig.com/5baehr gaslights used to light up the streets of South Bombay. A runner with a long pole in his hand would trot from street lamp to street lamp and fire them up one by one. The darkness of the dusk would then gradually yield to the white-yellow glow of the street lamps. I’m talking of the 1940s and maybe even the early 50s, mind you. As dusk approached, the Vanita Vishram Garden behind our house would be filled with twittering birds joyously heralding for almost a quarter of an hour the approach of darkness and time for repose. Some evenings, I used to take my bicycle http://digbig.com/5baenb to the Garden and ride a few leisurely laps around its periphery listening to the soothing chatter of the birds. Those were also the days when tramcars – double as well as single deckers – used to ply on the streets of Bombay from dawn to midnight. http://digbig.com/5baena. The other noteworthy feature of South Bombay life that is no more was the daily washing of the streets at dawn by bullock carts fitted with sprinklers. In those days, by the way, the minimum fare for the yellow top taxicabs was 6 annas (= 38 paise approximately). Those were the days, boys and girls, believe you me.