Buried under Peddar Road Flyover….
The work of constructing a flyover on Peddar Road in Mumbai will commence today. This has high news value, mainly because of the protest made by Lata Mangeshkar among other high profile residents.
It is necessary to build a flyover there, but buried under it would be the first floor residence of the Mangeshkar sisters, Lata and Asha, as well as some fond old memories.
Opposite their residence ‘Prabhu Kunj’ and somewhere towards “Vellard View” a ‘Bhaiyya’ used to sell Bhel and Pani Puri when I was in college, that is, in late 60s and early 70s. I have often stood there eating Bhel and glancing at the Mangeshkar sisters’ residence to get a glimpse of them.
I never did, except on one day when a beggar was singing, almost standing under balcony of Asha Bhosale’s apartment, where a narrow street goes upwards. Asha Bhosle saw him, heard his song for a very short while from her balcony, and then sent her servant with some money for the beggar. I was surprised to witness this gesture. Every time I pass by Prabhu Kunj on Peddar Road, I remember this incident and Asha Bhosle’s appreciation of music, no matter who sings it.
All these memories will be buried under the flyover; more of Mangeshkar sisters’ than mine.
There are two other landmarks where I become nostalgic: When you travel from Powai Naka on LBS Marg (there used to be Herbertsons factory at this square, making Dipy’s jam) towards IIT, Powai, you will see a large Rain tree, completely dwarfed under the flyover and the road, the height of which has been raised by several meters. My class travelled from Powai Naka to Powai Lake on botany excursion. (You may not believe this, there was beautiful greenery all around Powai in early 70s!) We sat under this Rain tree and ate our breakfast. The memory of a nice botany excursion along with classmates is still fresh in my mind. Recorded on the Rain Tree are some very happy memories. But, when I see it buried under the flyover and the approach road, my heart bleeds. I feel a part of me has been completely buried.
I grew up as a child at the ‘Tata Power Colony’ situated on the old Mumbai-Pune road, at a place called ‘Saimal’, about 3 miles away from Khopoli town. Some of life’s most memorable moments have been spent there in the Ghats in the jungle around it, watching trucks and cars grudgingly climbing the ghats whining all the way. A few years ago, an express highway was built between Mumbai and Pune that takes another route and bypasses this old beautiful colony. The new highway takes us to Pune in two hours flat, but it doesn’t give me what I used to get while travelling on the old Bombay-Pune road.
This is the cost of development. Whether we like it or not, it is inevitable that change will happen and some landmarks on which our memories are etched will give way to the new development. We lose a part of ourselves in that, and Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle are going to feel such a loss.
I will not join Lata Mangeshkar in her protest against building of the flyover, but I surely understand her loss.
I enjoyed this a lot. And I can relate to so many of the things you write. Particularly the Khopoli/Ghat stuff; That amazing 330 (or 30) degrees (depends on how you look), turn in the ghats, with a sumultaneus 60 degree gradient; the throwing of the coins into the ghat temple, by passing traffic, and the temple staff without fail, handing the prasad into the moving cars; Coming out just before Khandala fromthe tunnel, and having an ice gola, as the bonnets flew open and radiators of Fiats cooled down . Express highway is like Mcdonalds – “one is loving it”. But doesnt have the character of the Khopoli wada….
And about this Pedder Rd. Just because its the Mangeshkars, the govt listens. I wish someone listened to us about cutting of massive number of trees while constructing the IIT-L and T rd….
It is wonderful to read that Powai one time was a green place and you came here for Picnics !
And it is indeed a wonder of wonders that the tree stands to date.
I wonder what it must saying and thinking of mankind !
I wonder if it has a strange crystal ball to gaze into and let us know how our futures will be. Or perhaps do we even need to ask ?
Lovely post sir. And i would agree with Ugich. It is because of the voice that the Mangeshkar sisters have…that there is such a debate !
really touching..i had similiar experiences when i visted bombay this year..will b soon bloggin abt it..thnks for sharing 🙂
Great post! Your description of the Khopoli-Pune road in the Ghats took me back in time. I have travelled that road many times, years ago.
Progress does take away landmarks on which our memories have been built, but it is inevitable, isn’t it?
Sad but true…how progress is robbing us from natural surroundings….It's concrete all around.
With expanding cities, greenery & nature are being squeezed to borderline status. Climates are undergoing drastic changes…where are we heading , who knows!
But howver tragic, it is inevitable , isnt it…
And it's only when the high & mighties of the social hierarchy are affected, govt even bothers to sit up and notice!!
that’s how the order of things.. in the name of progress and development?
i like your story abt Asha Bhosale..and your nolstagia..
it’s ok.. what’s up here in our head stays forever.
I will be 26 years old soon and I already have a plethora of memories that I am attached to. I can appreciate the quantum of memories you must be having. I found this great quote on memory the other day:
Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose
– Kevin Arnold
which succinctly captures the essence of a memory.
Only change is permanent and we all lose something along the way. However, physical loss does not erase the mental presence and that is exactly what makes us human! 🙂
sometimes, when the cause is good, you can and should protest!
…and you do! Via your blog!
Great post, it created for me a geography and a history about a place which is not a familiar part of Mumbai to me. And I agree with you wholeheartedly and sorrowfully about the cost of development.
I remember Sir that from school we used to go for picnics to Powai Lake and Powai Garden. It was lush green and I remember how excited we were. Today, we have a concrete jungle and the hills slowly disappearing. Brutal murder of the environment in the name of development.
WHY THINK ABOUT PEDDERROAD THERE WAS TIME AARBI SAMUDRA WAVES USED TO TOUCH OLD CHURCHGATE STN AND COLABA STN WAS A BIG RLY YARD NOW BADHWAR PARK I HAVE LIVED IN THAT OFFICERS’ COLONY FOR 25 YEARS JUST IMAGINING WHY AND WHO REMOVED THE OLD RLY LINE