discovering bombay in mumbai… part 1

i was commissioned (for a lack of any other word) to write audio tours for a company based in europe! at first i was worried. yes, of course i know my city – bombay, mumbai and all of it in between. but do i know it well enough to tell others about it? so i walked, talked, photographed and re-discovered my city!
in this series, i want to document all the little tit-bits that made me get awed, charmed, amazed, angry, delighted and interested in bombay & mumbai!

we begin at watson’s hotel!

it is that decrepit building near kalaghoda. that corner one that you will pass by without even a glance. the one that’s falling apart, falling down…  falling apart. the steps are shaky, and shouldn’t be used. but people still sit in that office. and still work there!

put yourself back to those days, remove all those cobwebs, and straighten those beams, paint the whole place in the freshest colour and look again…

Watson’s Hotel Bombay
(source: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/)

it stands tall and proud. this was the first ‘star’ hotel in mumbai. you could see it as you came into bombay harbour. every room had a balcony, so that you could see the entire stretch till the sea.

it had a strictly ‘only white’ policy. in fact even the waitresses were from the UK. in fact, this was one of the reasons that J.R. D. Tata built the Taj Hotel, but there are some historians who refute that!

view from watson’s hotel
source: (http://collections.vam.ac.uk/)

today it in a sad state of disrepair today. there is no money for its upkeep. venture in if you must. but where once stood a ballroom, there is only a pile of garbage!

inside the ballroom with the glass ceiling at watson hotel

watson hotel, mumbai

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