Mumbai expert promises to relive bus route 123 to city's past

Apr 19, 2018, 16:27 IST | Suman Quazi

A city expert takes us down the sparkling stretch of bus route 123 in a bid to relive the city's lesser-known stories

The walk will begin at Marine Drive. Pic/Rane Ashish
The walk will begin at Marine Drive. Pic/Rane Ashish

History is found not just between the pages of a dog-eared book but also in the time-worn streets, downed shutters and squalid neighbourhoods of a city. Bombaywalla's upcoming walk, Route 123, takes the latter approach as it invites everyone to celebrate the romance of the route with senior journalist and author Sidharth Bhatia.

Historian Dr Simin Patel, who runs Bombaywalla, tells us, "Route 123 was the stretch that the BEST double-decker bus took, which began in Colaba and went right up to Gamdevi. It is one of the most scenic routes in the city. The idea of this historical walk is to relive that route and the stories of Marine Drives's most famous residents like Nargis and Suraiya."

Sidharth Bhatia
Sidharth Bhatia

The walk will begin from the spot on Marine Drive facing the Air India building and end at the iconic Irani café, Stadium Restaurant. It is going to be a walk down Mumbai's past; its love affair with jazz music, and its buzzing nightlife, laced with anecdotes from stories about European managers of clubs and hotels of yesteryear.

Bhatia, who is the second guest to host a Bombaywalla walk, hesitates to give out too much, adding, "I want to keep some surprises but it's mostly about why Marine Drive is so close to us and why it looks the way it does."

He adds, "People took Route 123 even without having any particular reason to. I will talk about things that will be new not just to those who are not from the city, but also to Mumbaikars. We know, for example, that Marine Drive was built in the 1930s. But what happened before that? Why was it built at all? To understand that you need to know about the history of the city. So, one can expect to walk away learning not just about Marine Drive but also about Bombay."

ON: April 21, 9 am
STARTING POINT: Opposite Air India Building, Marine Drive, Nariman Point.
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