Memories: A look back at iconic Grant Road Irani cafe B Merwan and Co

Apr 03, 2014, 09:59 IST | Dhara Vora

For those who treasure Mumbai's vintage charm, the news that the 100-year-old Irani Cafe, B Merwan and Co at Grant Road will shut down spelt a rush of memories

What:  For those who treasure Mumbai’s vintage charm, the news that the 100-year-old Irani café, B Merwan and Co at Grant Road will shut down spelt a rush of memories: of downing cups of tea with bruns against the backdrop of friendly banter, the mawa cake rush at 8 am and sharing notes about India’s political rollercoaster with strangers across the table.

An empty wrapper of a mawa cake lies on the table inside the eatery. The workers start making the cakes at 3 am and they get sold out by 8 am. Pic/Kashish Parpiani

These memories might stay and to give it new meaning, two young men decided to create a visual narrative of this café for the social-media-savvy generation and for the sake of nostalgia.

The building which houses the cafe is owned by the owners of the cafe. Pic/Kashish Parpiani

How: 28-year-old Raj Lalwani (a features editor with a magazine) and 21-year-old Kashish Parpiani (a freelance photojournalist) started Tales from Merwan’s, a photo project on Facebook, where they have been creating a pictorial story of what unfolds at Merwan every day. Parpiani informs us that Lalwani had been a regular at the café since the past six or seven years. When he got the news, like many regulars, he too felt that this was a story that had to be told. Their Facebook page is a platform to upload and invite people to send photographs of the eatery. Though Parpiani got to the news later, he believes the ambiguity has helped him as a lensman, to capture the essence of the space.

Parpiani informs us that the oven in the eatery is from Netherlands, the tables from Italy and chairs from Czechoslovakia. Pic/Raj Lalwani

Where: To contribute your photographs to the page, upload images with the hashtag #talesfrommerwans. They plan to continue this project till the café shuts down this month.

Merwan is one of the cheapest places in the city to eat today and it’s location is such that people from all walks of life visit the cafe. Pic/Raj Lalwani

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