Monday, 19 October 2009

Zenzi Mills



I am back at Chatterbox internet cafe, Pune across the road from where my sister used to stay on Dastur Meher road. I will be hitting the newly swanked up 'Landmark' stores in a few moments but my mind stil goes back to the moments of last friday in Bombay.

After meeting up with a dear friend in Bandra (West)I paused to take in the Grand Prix Take 5 bike show at Mount Carmel school just by (the MC kept saying 'Grand Prick'- but I suppose it couldn't be helped if he felt that way.)

To be fair, it felt exhilarating to be in Bombay. 'Harbour Line' - the only poem on the city of Bombay - in my debut volume 'Last Bus to Vasco'(2006) beckoned. The journey in the 2908 Maharashtra Sampark Kranti from Nizamuddin to Bandra, I had jumped in on Thursday 15th October night, was quite amiable as well, reaching Bandra terminus bang on time at 5.50 p.m.

Having a few hours on hand before I waltzed down to Pune I decided to step in to Zenzi Mills pub, Lower Parel, where 3rd Degree were slated to play for the Kingfisher Pub Rock fest. The time slated was 8 p.m., at least on the internet, when I checked at Delhi. The trouble was that there was not a soul (almost) till 10 pm and though as they say the band was 'upstairs' they did not deign to come down and play for a soldier of fortune (apologies to Deep Purple) from Delhi. As it panned out I just got fed up and left after some interesting small talk with the pub staff.

But what really got me curious was the title - Zenzi mills. Why mills? What happened to the old mills? Where were the workers now? Why were they uprooted? The history of the marginalised was easy to sweep away in the glitzy pub at Zenzi mills, nevermind that though the ambience was great it took little imagination to see it was in fact a converted godown. Yes Datta Samant was shot and killed in 1997 because of this issue. And now as the taxidriver poked his fingeer at the glitzy highrises on either side of the bridge as we drove from Bandra to Lower Parel I yearned for the forgotton people.

This was a breezy trip, a slice of Western India. Sunday brought news of my poem on Diu being published in the In Verse space in Goa's leading daily the Navhind Times.

It feels good to be a poet on the move! I fly back to Delhi on Kingfisher on a shoestring fare (2K)at 6.40 pm.

All this while nursing an oftentimes aching hip. The condition had me popping Gabbaneuron SR and Ultracet for about a week from the days leading up to a bash at my digs in Delhi to celebrate things various on the previous Sunday, 11 October.

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Pix Courtesy: Ripping the Fabric: The Decline of Mumbai and its Mills (Oxford University Press, 2005)

1 comment:

Mumbai Paused said...

Interesting story. I'm trying to click pictures of Mumbai Mills on my blog. They have fascinating stories.

http://mumbaipaused.blogspot.com/search/label/Spinning%20Stories%3A%20Mills%20of%20Mumbai


-Gopal