I was born in the area in Madras (that was later renamed Chennai) called Gopalapuram. We lived in the area for the first nine years of my life. I went to the famous Convent school in the area until my fifth class (grade as it is called now). Then my father was transferred to Hyderabad where we spent the next 3 ½ years.
We moved back to Madras and we lived in the same area for the next three years—shifting houses, but within a street or two. Then we moved to Bombay, Malabar Hills and lived in an area called Breach Candy where there was a swimming pool meant only for whites!! We spent the next 12 years in the same road. I went to Sophia College up the road and got married, came home for my two deliveries as is the custom in our culture. I was living abroad and my brother Ramana too lived in this area. Then my father moved away to the village/town.
I came back to India in ’77 and –yes I lived in government quarters in the same area in Mumbai—just a road away. This was for a few months as my husband went back to Mauritius. I had to hang around until a year was completed and I also spent some months with my brother Ramana and his family. They lived in an area called Colaba.
In 1983, we came back finally to India—and surprise, surprise we were allotted quarters in Colaba! Ramana had moved away to Malabar Hills. He then relocated to Bangalore and in ’86, after a change of job for my husband into an MNC Bank, we shifted back to Bishopsgate in Breach Candy (smaller white building in the picture), this time bang in front of the Breach candy swimming Pool that was now open to Indians as well—but very well heeled ones. My daughter went to the same college for a year and then we moved back to Chennai.
After looking high and low to buy our own apartment in the city we accidentally found one in the area of my childhood, Gopalapuram, right behind my school. We lived in Bank’s accommodation for a few years and in ’95 we moved into this apartment where we are there till date.
The area has developed a lot but many old (literally and metaphorically) continue to live here and I run into them.
The temple, which was a tiny one when I was a young girl, has grown into a big centre for religion, music and cultural activities.
A few years ago my daughter, Nitila, landed up in Breach Candy as she was allotted accommodation by her employer in that area. She still goes shopping there even after having moved away to the suburbs.
So again and again, the family has moved into familiar areas even though both cities Mumbai and Chennai are really large. You could call it serendipity or just the fact that we have rediscovered our comfort zones in these places that attract us.
Everytime we think of looking out for a more modern apartment, we look at all the factors that make our area so very comfortable for daily living. Then we ditch the idea of relocating.
Will took us all back in our memories to find out our comfort zones and forgotten pleasures!!
PS: JUST FOUND OUT THAT BISHOPSGATE IN BREACH CANDY, MUMBAI IS BEING DEMOLISHED TO MAKE WAY FOR A STEEL AND GLASS MONSTROSITY…SAD!
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Yes, in your case, rediscovering your familiar localities has been rather unusual. You have to give Bashir Bagh a shot one of these days!
Actually I did visit Bashir Bagh in Hyderabad when Saroja Akka was there. Unfortunately we got lost inside the area as it is now a maze of heavily built up neighbourhoods!!
I have very fond memories of Napean Sea Road and Breach Candy of the early ’80s. CRLY Local from Matunga to Dadar, switch to BCT fast on WRLY, get off at Grant Road and a short bus ride till Breach Candy Hospital, opposite which stood the old Mazda Mansion that housed Indian Overseas Bank’s Breach Candy Branch. I was in the Third Phase of Probation and had a wonderful time in Breach Candy M F Hussain would walk in barefoot clad in khakhi shorts and a white kurta. Ronnie Screwvala also used to drop in to conduct his transactions. Those were the days…..
Well..that wsa pretty close to where I was as a college girl in Shyam Nivas and Nanak Nivas and as a housewife/lecturer in Bishopsgate!!
I am fascinated that despite the size of India, you have been drawn back to the same areas over and over again.
We are living very near where my husband grew up. Quite often as we drive around the area, memories of his childhood flood back to him. 🙂
Hi, We lived in Bishopsgate 1982-5, while I was with Grindlays. Wonderful flats. We have learnt they have been sold and are being demolished to build new flats. Great pity!
Hi We moved in only in 86! Yes sadly the building has been torn down. The flats were sold off by SCB and then property developers have taken over!