Watch out for that dung!

Updated: Dec 13, 2019, 07:44 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Bovine bother brings prestigious picture frames store owners and staff to the end of their tether

Cow dung outside the store; (right) The store is forced to cover the cow dung and urine outside with paper and cardboard
Cow dung outside the store; (right) The store is forced to cover the cow dung and urine outside with paper and cardboard

The Chemould Frames store, renowned picture framers, count the city's movers and shakers, many of them art aficionados and connoisseurs, among their customers. A few moo-vers though, visiting the store front at Princess Street, Marine Lines, every day, are no art lovers.

Adil Gandhy, partner at Chemould Frames, is in despair over a peculiar problem - cows that leave mounds of dung just outside the glass store front. Beware Christian Loubotin shoes-shod customers, with precious picture or art work in hand, your feet might sink into cow cake outside the ground floor store. Gucci leather moccasins may have a similar soft and very unfortunate landing. "On Wednesday evening, two disgusted customers left after seeing the dung outside the shop," said Gandhy. "We have had customers who have soiled their footwear in the dung. We had to give them something to clean their shoes with," said the owner.

Cow urinating outside the shop
Cow urinating outside the shop

Recently, the staff had to get wood shavings to put over the dung, which was finally covered with old newspaper. Gandhy said, "On Wednesday afternoon, the cows again came to do their business outside the shop and we had to clean it up as best as we could. I understand that the cow is considered holy and respect the sentiment. But, they cannot be allowed to wander about in public spaces."

The store staff pointed out that last month a cow even entered the passage of the massive building, probably seeking shade. As the building is old, the corridor is spacious and wide enough for the animal to enter. "But, tenants could not enter or exit the building and had to use a back entrance of the Chemould shop to do so," said the staff.

Cow dung outside the store; (right) The store is forced to cover the cow dung and urine outside with paper and cardboard
The footpath outside Chemould Frames seems dirty while that outside Parsi Dairy next door is untouched. Pics/Bipin Kokate

Residents and store staff claimed that two women sit on the pavement outside in the mornings selling grass and some oat balls for the public to feed the cows. When they have collected their money, they go away leaving the animals to meander on the footpath creating a mess.

No response
Gandhy said he has been writing letters to the BMC (copies of which are with mid-day) since 2017, but there has been no action. He has also followed up with letters to the Assistant Engineer (Environment) 'C' ward Chandanwadi. An excerpt of one communication states: 'We refer to our complaint made more than a month ago for which there has been NO [capitals in the letter] action. Please note that two cows come daily who freely walk up and down the sidewalks of Princess Street defecating, urinating and making a mess. You can come and see the mess and dirt outside our shop..."

In a letter to the municipal commissioner dated September 2017, an excerpt says: 'We have called and spoken to the concerned department in the C ward who have told us that they have to inform some department in Malad. They say that they have called and informed the concerned department but nothing has come of it..."

Gandhy said he had been told to call the Cattle Pound department located in Malad. He said, "I have called several times in the past few months. Each time they promised to come and impound the animals. Two months ago, they said they had impounded one cow. The main two cows are still around."

Iconic store
When this paper called the cattle pound on Thursday, a worker said, "The shop owner has to write to the 'C' ward authorities, citing the exact spot and the ward will forward it to us and we will take action." The rigmarole seems to go on.

About Chemould

Chemould Frames is one of the city's most prestigious establishments for picture frames. It was launched in 1947. Kekoo Gandhy, founder of Chemould Frames, later expanded his vision beyond framing into art, becoming one of the founding fathers of contemporary Indian art. The gallery he founded in 1963 is now a contemporary art gallery called Chemould Prescott Road.

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