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Alice in Bluleshwar: Navigating a Mumbai Neighbourhood

By Kaiwan Mehta

Kaiwan Mehta takes the reader for a walk through the streets and past the buildings of the ‘native town’ of colonial Bombay, reading their histories and excavating their memories, while continuing to negotiate their present context. This historic neighbourhood of Mumbai, fondly referred to as Bhuleshwar, has remained a residential and religious hub as before, while thriving as the city’s essential commercial marketplace today. It retains a complex history of migration and community, which is evident in the architectural form, motifs and designs of the area. The buildings are literally registers of history; they are maps of a time gone by, and yet they continue to find themselves relevant and alive in the contemporary context. Alice in Bhuleshwar is also a story of the people who have lived in these buildings: unsung icons like Premiji and Saroj Pathak, famed artistes like Jayashankar ‘Sundari’, and others who have inhabited these buildings which breathe in the salty air of Mumbai and speak to those who care to listen.
 

Kaiwan Mehta has studied Architecture, Literature, Indian Aesthetics and Cultural Studies. He is currently pursuing a doctorate at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore. While being involved in teaching, writing and research on architecture and the city, he has been associated with many institutions like KRV Institute for Architecture, Mumbai, Jnanapravaha, Mumbai and Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart.

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