Thursday, July 16, 2015

Churchgate memories

When I moved back to Mumbai and started travelling by train to work, I kept revisiting all the memories I had of Churchgate, fort, south Bombay. Penning down a distinct one:

As kids we would sometimes come all the way to Churchgate from Santacruz on a Saturday afternoon and meet dad waiting outside the station coming from office. Then the station had a very different look. There were no subways connecting you to various points outside the station. Infact where the underground subway begins is actually where the station ended. We would go watch a movie, or go shopping, have food (i actually don't remember where we ate, will check with maa, it probably was satkar though or stadium) and sit at marine drive. The station looks very different now and I think its only on some movies like Chhoti si baat and others from that time that one can actually see what the station looked like then.

Later in life I started going to Churchgate regularly for my NCC trainings, when I had qualified for the BLC (Basic Leadership Camp) (I was too short for the RD parade!) and had classes in the NCC Gp HQ next to the city civil and sessions court. I remember the underground subway and the fact that one could get any cold drink for 5 rupees. We used to walk (or run, depending on what time was the parade!!) through Oval Maidan and whenever we had rifle shooting practice and the canter was leaving too early, we would take a direct bus to RC church and then run the rest of the way to the naval practice ground.

When I was in Ruia and working for TimesFM I would take the train to VT and back as that was most convenient, so no Churchgate stories there!

When I started my journey to Churchgate everyday again, after a gap of almost 15 years I was travelling in Virar trains! Stuff that you just don't get into no matter what if you are living anywhere between Churchgate and Borivali! there were a number of times when i would get a seat in the train at marine lines or after that, so i would sit in the train till the last minute and run off towards the sharing cab place. On my way back also I would be in a hurry to get into a virar/vasai/bhy local and grab a seat. Now, after moving to Malad, things are much easier, I don't mind taking a slow train either as the difference isn't much.

The one thing that is common in all of these memories over the years is the HPMC apple juice stall. As a child I would look forward to our trips to Churchgate only because I wanted to drink apple juice. I think that is partly the reason why I don't remember anything beyond the juice coz that's all I wanted!  The stall has moved from one corner to another across the station, but the taste is just the same. I had once asked the person at the counter if this was the same stall that was at the end of the station near the exit away from the platforms, where the subway now begins. He stopped and looked at me and asked if I was coming after a long time as this was years ago. I think i did faintly remember him as a young boy helping his elders in the stall. I still try and have a glass of juice every other day and whenever I do, I am reminded of all the earlier occasions that are linked with this sweet taste. Assuring me that inspite of everything about this city and the world we live in changing, somethings still remain the same :)

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