2016 hasn’t been the great year that we expected it to be. Especially for the people of Mumbai, it was one of those years when history seemed to be rewritten. The death of legendary people, bizarre decisions, and iconic structures being shut have cost us our 2016 year dearly. We bring to you a list of iconic landmarks that went down in the history of Mumbai which we will never see anymore.
1. Mani’s Lunch Home, Matunga
Matunga is known to be a food lovers’ paradise, especially for those who crave South Indian food. Be it the Ayyappan Dosa Stall, Ramashray or Mani’s Lunch Home, there are several eateries in this Mumbai suburb. While the others still continue to serve food, it was Mani’s Lunch Home, set up in the early 1920s, that had to shut down in June 2016. Known to attract crowds of people from all over the city, Mani’s has had to shift out of its original address because the building it was housed in will soon be redeveloped. Although it has pulled down its shutters, it did relocate to Chembur towards the end of 2016. The question that remains is, will this eatery maintain its glory and popularity?
2. Parle’s Production Factory, Vile Parle
Everybody who has travelled by train or strolled past Vile Parle station will fondly remember the aroma of freshly baked biscuits that would waft from the Parle Production Factory. The 87-year-old factory shut down its production in July 2016. Started in 1929, the Parle Factory derived its name from the area it is situated in, and over the years it has become a landmark for the residents of Vile Parle. Well known for its glucose biscuit called ‘Parle-G’, this brand was a household name and children and adults relished its biscuits with much love and nostalgia. The company shut down this factory, which was its first ever production outlet, because the productivity of biscuits here was low.. With the disappearance of this building and the aroma of the sweet biscuits made in it, we should ask ourselves if the ‘Parle’ bit of Vile Parle has been lost forever.
3. Rhythm House, Colaba
Situated in the quiet by-lanes of Colaba, there once existed one of Mumbai’s most cherished music shops called Rhythm House. Built in the 1940s, Rhythm House was a heaven for music lovers and musicians alike. People frequenting the shop included the likes of Kalyanji-Anandji, Shammi Kapoor, and Pt Ravi Shankar. Other famous musicians such as Jethro Tull, The Police, Peter Andre, Zakir Hussain, and AR Rahman have also visited this music paradise. From a friendly staff and an AC booth to sample some music to finally setting up an online music store for its loyal customers – Rhythm House stood out from the rest in the market. Although it survived for quite some time despite the digital revolution, it could not maintain business any longer and closed shop in February 2016.
4. Crown Bakery, Mahim
Crown Bakery, Mahim is known for its simultaneously quiet and bustling nature, the St. Michael’s Church, and Wednesday novenas. The coming of the third edition of the Mumbai Metro project has meant the closure of one more iconic cultural aspect that Mahim is associated with – the Crown Bakery. This bakery served people for almost 63 years. When it was first started in 1953 by Khodaram Khosravi and during its initial years, it was well-known for its bun maska and chai. But over the last few years, only bakery products such as chicken patties, pav, pista biscuits, shrewsberry biscuits and naankhatai were available here.
5. Tea Centre, Churchgate
There is no better way to start the day than a cup of tea, and until a few months ago, there was no better place to drink it at than Churchgate’s Tea Center. For over 57 years, this tea house had been serving 100 varieties of tea and promoting Indian varieties of this hot beverage. Owned by the Tea Board of India, it used to be frequented by government employees and ministers, but over the years, a mixed crowd began visiting it. The teas served here were brought from Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, and the Nilgiris, and were priced anywhere between Rs 50 to Rs 150. Over the last few months, the Tea Center closed shop without any prior notice. The reason for this sudden shut down is tenancy-related, as suggested by the landlords of the building.
6. Bombay Electric, Colaba
The disappearance of this popular fashion house, which moved from Mumbai to London after a span of 10 years, was really surprising. Bombay Electric was started with the intention of creating and nurturing a new wave of fashion and design in India. It housed the work of Indian designers such as Miu Niku, Manish Arora, and Little Shilpa. It was also well-known for keeping vintage accessories because of which it served as competition for brands such as Ensemble and Ogaan, which were located within the same locality. Bombay Electric was the go-to place for foreigners and NRIs who. The lack of new designers, the shop’s inability to adapt to the changing needs of the market, and the bridal market monopoly are the causes for the shop’s shift to London.
Just as my generation was not witness to life-altering events like the Partition and Emergency, children born in 2017 will never know the significance of these buildings of Mumbai. Whether we will miss them in the coming year is a question only time can answer.