Bombay: Vintage Wonderland

The streets of south Bombay are a wonder nestled away in the heart of Mumbai. I’ve spend a large part of my childhood marvelling at the ornately carved structures that succeed in transporting me to a 19th Century Bombay.

There is something pristine about the preservation of this heritage while the rest of the city is in a constant race with time. The quiet existence of the TATA house, the legacy of the NCPA, the colour that comes with Colaba and the omnipresent Gateway of India or the cobbled roads of Kala Ghoda that lead to the Prince of Wales Museum; the Jehangir Art Gallery. The bustle of Crawford Market or the most beloved Pizza by the Bay and tunes off the jukebox at Café Mondegar!

Just when I thought I’d exhausted the alleys of “Town”, I found myself pleasantly surprised. A friend was embarking on his directorial venture at The Hamilton studios at Ballard estate. I kept wondering where I was till the stone building stood before me in all its glory. I felt like I had time traveled.  I had been transported to a victorian village. The only thing missing was a chariot. I watched as the camera rolled, capturing the timelessness of the place, taking the watcher into a black and white version of an age where colour only existed in thought. As I walked to the end of the street, I was met with  Britannia & Co, a local Parsi eatery. The words “Ban maska” gleamed in the afternoon sun as I made my way through the old Irani place.

Hamilton Studios

After this new exploration of cuisine, I trudged along in the heat to find a person who develops pictures from a film camera.  What I found wasn’t the least bit of what I was expecting. The so called camera market in Borabazar had my eyes popping. Navigating carefully through the gully cricketers I found myself on a narrow road where about hundred camera shops were cramped, all vying for the attention of a potential customer. I stopped to think as to why so many shops selling the same products sought a livelihood on one street. Old cameras, new cameras, parts, digital, film! Your photography wish was their command. I found myself so overwhelmed that I spent most of my time gawking. I finally found a dingy looking shop at the top of a dark, narrow stairwell. The shop was cramped. The shelves were over stuffed and all sorts of technical jargon was being hurled across the chaotic room. My discovery had me feeling like I was part of a novel, stumbling upon intrinsic Bombay secrets.


Every one of these memories carefully captured in my mind’s camera, the greatest feeling is that there is always something new to discover in the city I call home. It is always the ton of surprise!

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