Memories of a Receding Past: 38

Mumbai Part V - Gorai

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Winter is the time in Bombay when one thinks of outings. Other seasons are not conducive enough to go out and enjoy nature. Winter is the time when the temperatures are moderate and the steamy heat does not tell on your nerves. While the summers are too hot and humid, the rainy season is too wet and after the rains Bombay has what is known as the second summer. This is when sun is a scorcher and the heat that it generates is nerve-racking. Two months of winter that follow are kind of grace that Nature offers to Bombayites to enjoy and play around.

That is precisely we thought of doing by visiting Gorai – a township up in the north, close to Manori Creek, with a beach to boot. I saw an ad in the newspaper about guest houses at Gorai that could be booked at a certain place, if I remember, in Worli. We went and booked a room. The outfit seemed to be run by Christians. The man who sold the place to us for two nights seemingly warned us that the facilities available were very basic. He repeated this twice but I thought he was being overly modest.

Christians in Gorai are of the East Indian stock. They are Roman Catholics and were baptized when the first flow of Portuguese arrived on the Bombay coast in the 15th Century. Known as the East Indian Catholics they were found in the northern parts of the island, especially in Salcette, Dharavi and Bandra, etc. Some of them have made Thane their home as well. The East Indian Catholics are some of the oldest among the Indian Christians.

But they did not help their cause by repeatedly mentioning that the facilities that they had in the rooms that they let out are modest. In fact, they are not modest, they were non-existent. There was not even a single piece of furniture in the room and when I asked where and how we were supposed to sleep the man replied that he would provide spreads which could be spread out on the floor. That is what the man who booked us in meant by “basic facilities”. Having travelled more than 25 kilometres through the Bombay traffic I did not want to make an issue of it. Instead we decided to move out next morning and get back home.

But I must admit the beach was indeed great - somewhat like the beaches we had come across in Konkan. It was a small beach with the sands in different shades of yellow. We moved out in the sun out on the beach and spent some two house or so in the open air. Later the sun became rather hot and we had to move into the shade of trees close to the rooming facilities.

We somehow spent the night, I dare say in great discomfort, and loaded the car with whatever little we had brought with us. The only take-away from the trip was a new meaning of the word “modest” – an addition to my lexicon.

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More by :  Proloy Bagchi

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