At a popular South Indian thali serving eatery in Central Matunga, hangs a large framed Mumbai map, with a dateline that says 1919. There map gives an impression of there being a hole in the centre; the areas of Mahim, Dharavi, Sion. An online search for old maps of Mumbai will also throw up the disjointed seven islands with their historic names.
That is when you realise the amount of reclamation that has happened to create the Mumbai we know, with areas like Backbay Reclamation, Bandra Reclamation, BKC, Juhu, Central Mumbai and so on. That was version Mumbai 1.0 whereas Mumbai getting extended to the suburbs could be termed as version 2.0, and the further development of Mumbai Metropolitan Region as Version 3.0. Within these, is a version 2.1 with a popular concept witnessed a lot in the suburbs since the millennium shift – redevelopment.
For most of the residents, it is like modernising their place of stay with that much-wanted, extra space as the biggest motivator. A typical two to three floor building being replaced by a tower with modern amenities and technology-based security.
Recently, I had the opportunity of attending the housewarming ceremony of a friend, Ravichandran Narayanan in Chembur. A simple two floor building has now been transformed into a 14-floor high rise. The residents are preparing to move in during Gudi Padwa, while certain customised plumbing and electric fitting, along with some carpentry work gets completed.
Over the past two decades, Chembur, an erstwhile laid-back suburb in a corner of the city, has emerged as the epicentre of redevelopment. With access to South Mumbai due to the Eastern Freeway; central suburbs via the Eastern Express Highway; western suburbs through the Santacruz Chembur Link Road (SCLR), and Navi Mumbai nearby, it is ideally positioned.
Recounting the tale of redevelopment, Ravichandran shares that for a building that had been constructed in 1963, the initial plans for redevelopment came up in 2010, and dragged on till 2013. Just when they thought they had achieved consensus amongst members, a ruling that declared most properties in the area as ‘heritage’ again delayed the process.
The matter was revived sometime in 2015, and just when they were about to strike a deal with a builder, another issue cropped up. Most members had lost hope, thinking that they were destined to stay in an old structure that would need frequent repairs and maintenance.
View from Shabri Gayatri |
However, the committee persisted with the matter and got the concurrence of all the members. Thankfully, after going through all the formalities, the building was handed over to a builder for redevelopment in October 2020. The old building named ‘Gayatri’ was demolished by December 2020 and the existing members eagerly saw the new tower, ‘Shabri Gayatri’ coming up in its place.
Earlier, residents staying on the second floor of the old building who had endured climbing stairs, had often wished for a lift. Now, in the redeveloped building, they have two lifts. Previously, the view from the terrace at about 40 feet height was for a distance of about a kilometre, while the view from the new terrace at a height of 150 feet is up to the horizon.
House warming picture |
Seshambal Narayanan, Ravi’s mother recounts that when they had moved into the original house, they were a family of four. Her husband passed away in 2014 and today, from the 10th floor apartment, she is scanning the horizon trying to spot her daughter Radhika’s apartment in Ghatkopar!
(The writer is a Trend Science, Communication & Marketing Consultant)
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