22 Aug 2012

Congress House

Just another Sunday morning
A restaurant in the area.

Congress House

The area popularly known as Congress House, but actually a group of buildings close to what is now a residential block called Congress House near Grant Road, would make an interesting prism to look at the history of Mumbai.

I first heard of this place when a friend of mine who was a regular to Dance Bars before RR Patil cracked his whip many years back. A good listener, he was a favourite among bar girls who would narrate their stories to him until day break and after a hard night at work. They would narrate stories about their families back home in the North. How they were packed off to Mumbai with a distant relative to improve the lives of their brothers and sisters back home, their initiation ceremonies, their patient wait for that one man who will take them away from everything, their Dubai trips and shopping sprees and Congress House politics among the girls. And at the crack of dawn, he would drop them off at Congress House where they would sleep the whole day and he would come to work with puffy eyes and red eyes and stories to narrate.

Old timers narrate stories of the days when you could find the best dancers and singers in the city around here.

 Each age will have its own Congress House story.

And on the Sunday morning when I was there on the Manto walk, that took a group of people to places associated with Manto and the film industry when he worked here, I was approached by this man, a fresh arrival from Uttar Pradesh, who asked me and members of the group if any of us could offer him a job, any job.

Trivia: In Bangalore, Congress Grass is the local name for an invasive weed from Mexico that causes half the city's asthma problem.

And here's an interesting read on Live Mint by Supriya Nair:

Best Liberty Port. 

As the Mumbai Police goes on a moral clean- up spree, we return to the sleazy Bombay of mid-20th century pulp


MJ said...

Hope Mumbai Paused doesn't make it on the blocked list due this post.

Slogan Murugan said...

lol :)

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