Ever since Lady Flora had known her friend Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, she had seldom seen him with a book in his hand. Despite all his knowledge of the city’s civic and administrative affairs, this was one observation that always piqued his inquisitive mind. Obviously, it was a sight to see. Seated on her favorite bench inside Horniman Circle Gardens, her friend is peering at a large tome that is usually found inside a dusty cauldron of a less frequented library or archive. Next to it were some other titles piled high. ‘Where am I supposed to sit,’ she thought, as she approached the scene.
Sir PM apparently did not notice her presence until he gently patted her on the shoulder. “Firoz… all is well, I hope? What’s with the intense reading session?” He asked. His friend jumped out of his bubble. “Oh! Hello, my lady. I didn’t see you. My apologies. Are you? I was just reading something…” he replied. “What’s interesting in this book, Firoz? Is there anything you want me to fill in Want it? She insisted, always eager to get the details. “It’s all over the news. haven’t you heard There is talk from all sides; At first, Percy immediately flew – for once – with the update, as soon as he heard it from his pigeon friends at the train station, and it was then confirmed by the good Doctor Viegas. There is serious talk that Churchgate will be renamed after an important figure, Chintamanrao Deshmukh, who was one of India’s sharpest financial minds after independence. So, I decided to start reading about the respected gentleman as it is a name we would need to use in our daily chats and updates,” he revealed in a business-like fashion.
“But I am more curious to know why Churchgate was chosen for this renaming, and not some other station? Especially because there is a very special reason why it earned its name. It was one of the three gates of the long-standing original fortress walls and was in memory of the iconic cathedral located near it. It’s part of our town’s history, isn’t it?” questioned Lady Flora; she was always armed with research-backed statements to back up her point of view. I mean, Firoz, you know about the history of the area I know better than most of us…” She looked forward to hearing what his famous friend had to say.
“I agree, Lady Flora. But these are things that are no longer in our hands. We can only debate and discuss the why and how of such a proposal and its long-lasting effect. I mean Yes, it may have been phased out of its original history after the proposal was carved in stone, but isn’t this scenario common to what we have experienced in the past, including other railway terminuses? Hardcore history Fans will go the extra mile to keep the original document alive, and continue to create awareness. It is up to the rest of us citizens to remember the past as we move into the future. Making them aware of the origins of Churchgate is the most important as new changes are adopted in the visual and historical landscape of our city,” shared Sir PM, clearly affected by the news, as he turned another page of the large book that was precariously on his lap He kept it, “I understand you, Firoz. Change is inevitable at this time; It seems that this gentleman has done a great job in the financial history of India and his contribution should be given due credit. But I have another concern here. Will this procedural change not cost the coffers of this government a heavy price? This will result in changing the text at every step, from letterhead to railway tickets, indicators and official stationery. All these costs will also have to be accounted for. Take this cost, and weigh it against the dire need for better quality roads, safer sidewalks, working streetlights, public toilets and trash cans – all of which are far more important needs in our city that is growing rapidly. Shouldn’t the civic authorities look at infrastructure needs as a priority and put such exercises further down the list? The odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the latter,” he argued. Sir PM’s face said it all. It was a no brainer. But some things in the city were not in his hands.
Once again, the facilitators were looking at the possibility of a turning moment in Metropolis’ timeline. He had no solutions to give, only memories to cherish. But more importantly, a taciturn, steely look that night to do our best as Bombay’s cultural and heritage ambassadors, sharing far and wide their vast repository of knowledge about the origins of their favorite city There was a resolution. “I must quote here the great Marcus Garvey, a well-known Jamaican activist, who said that “a people without knowledge of their past history, origins and culture is like a tree without its roots.” How profound and also insightful,” Sir PM looked at his friend as he walked towards Churchgate station.
Mid-day Features Editor Fiona Fernandez loves the sights, sounds, smells and stones of the city… wherever the ink and inclination takes her. she tweets @bombayana
Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org