No tears for the terminus

Updated: Nov 04, 2019, 08:24 IST | Fiona Fernandez | Mumbai

Our sutradhaars wonder if technology can help fix the leakage issues that plague FW Stevens' Gothic masterpiece

FionaI see you have a canopy placed over your pedestal… is there a BMC function that's coming up, Pheroze? Lady Flora's curiosity was at an all-time high as she waited for her friend Sir Pherozeshah Mehta to join her for their after dark explorations around Fort.

You noticed it, Lady? he enquired softly; this was his volume whenever she went into interrogation mode. I notice everything… including dead people, she added, with a straight face; the second part of her statement was meant to spook her friend since it was around Halloween, and she found a great thrill in sharing made-up stories of having spotted spirits and floating corpses haunting landmarks around their walking routes.

So, tell me all about this new look of yours, Pheroze. Did the unseasonal showers prod your former babus to give you respite or are you finally getting some kind of added recognition for your contribution to the city? she rattled off.

None of the above, lady. That would be the day, really, when they decide to honour me. I have organised this arrangement from my resources. I caught on to some chatter from Viegas and Gargoyle that there are plans to use drones to study the leakage issue that has been plaguing the central dome of the mother terminus, hence I wish to be secure, informed Sir PM, hesitatingly. He knew he was walking into a trap set up by his curious friend. Secure from what, Pheroze? You're in one of those cagey moods, nudged Lady Flora. You do know that I am a private person. These aerial invasions into my privacy are most unsettling for my peace and sanity in this old age. Whatever the authorities at the terminus need to do let them do, but they should not infringe on our basic rights. At least, take our opinion. Nobody asked us when the viewers' gallery was abruptly and quickly thrust in front of us. My Sunday siestas have been ruined forever. And now, this… Lady Flora could see that Sir PM wasn't happy.

I am keener to know if this will be an effective method to tap the issue, she commented. How did these issues get solved in the past, in the pre-technology age? This Gothic landmark has weathered over a hundred monsoons — full credit to FW Stevens and his team. I remember hearing of stories from his labourers who would come by to rest near the traffic island, back in the day. They would hail his meticulous attention to detail by using the right engineering and material, from the domes to the flooring.

Either way, this bit of news is off-putting. I feel it is a violation for all of us in the vicinity. Imagine these flying objects hovering around us without any intimation. Who is to say that the issue will be resolved with these costly plans, in the first place? So many activities around this great landmark have gone unchecked in the past — remember the mysterious case of the Queen's statue that had gone missing overnight? Or how that horrendous kindergarten-type art on stained glass windows and incorrect reinterpretations of some of the designs had emerged along the outer facades? Gargoyle himself is puzzled, and isn't exactly thrilled with the moving from fact to fiction, said Sir PM.

I agree, but let's hope, and I really do, that they are able to solve the leakage issue that they seem unable to fix until now. Issues around the wear and tear of the terminus have been continuing for too long. Surely, there must be a concrete solution to ensure that it is a sensitive and permanent fix. We cannot have the centre-piece of the city, in tears, figuratively speaking, can we? Lady Flora continued.

Just then, it began to pour. Lady Flora took cover under the canopy that Sir PM had arranged for. She smiled. Some good did come from her friend's decision. She'd dare not say it aloud though. They watched the silhouette of the imposing dome pierce the night sky. Bombay ought to keep her safe as both said a silent prayer for her.

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