Mumbai travelogue 1932

FitzPatrick Pictures


A tour of the Indian city of Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1930's.

बचपन के दिन भुला ना देना

Radha Nair


Radha schooled in the Convent of Jesus and Mary (Delhi) and St. Joseph's Convent (Bombay), and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College (Delhi). She taught English at Women's Polytechnic (Madras and Coimbatore) for six years. Since 2007, she has been a freelance writer for the Hindustan Times (Mumbai), the Deccan Herald (Bangalore), and for the online editions of Outlook Traveller, India Traveller Travelogue, and Mathrabhumi (Calicut). She won the first prize in a short story competition conducted by the Deccan Herald in 2007. She has written many short stories based on her memories of family holidays in Calicut\; one of these was published in Penguin First Proof, 2010.


Editor's note: The title "बचपन के दिन भुला ना देना" means "Don't forget your childhood days".


Dadar station ... from which exodus-ed travel weary wayfarers, at all hours of the day and night, to seek their fortunes in Bombay - the city of their dreams.

Lithographic Views of 19th century Bombay



Large number of photographs and paintings of 19th-century Bombay at Brings our clearly the contrast with modern Mumbai.

My maternal Sikh-Muslim-Christian family

Reginald Masssey


Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi. A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Ed. Note: Mr. Massey's recorded memoirs of 1947 are available here in the UK National Archives. Another recording is available here.

This family saga has been set down after considerable research. The oldest member I have consulted is Joe Massey, my late mother’s youngest cousin. He is now over ninety years old, and lives in Missisuaga, near Toronto. Thankfully, his memory is still very good.


Possibilities of sericulture industry in the Province of Bombay

E.S.. Ramanath


E. S. Ramanath specialised in sericulture and ericulture. In 1933, the Government of the Princely State of Mysore sent him to Japan to study the rearing of silk worms. He sailed in Tango Maru from Colombo in Sri Lanka to Tokyo - a journey of nearly a month. He worked primarily in Yokohama, Kyoto, and Nagasaki. Upon his return in 1935, he worked in Mysore State, where he was in charge of silk farms in in Kolar, Channapatna, Sidlaghatta, and Kunigal during different periods. The Government of the British-ruled Bombay Province availed of his expertise in the the rearing of silkworms, and funded a study, which is presented in the book below. E. S. Ramanath passed away in February, 1943, before he could truly see the fruits of his labour in the nascent silk industry in Bombay and Mysore States.

E. R. Ramachandran writes:

A favour for a spoilt kid

Vinod K. Puri


Born in 1941, Vinod was brought up and educated in Amritsar. He attended Government Medical College, and subsequently trained as a surgeon at PGI, Chandigarh. He left for USA in 1969, and retired in 2003 as Director of Critical Care Services at a teaching hospital in Michigan. Married with two grown sons, he continues to visit India at least once a year.

In 1955, as a fourteen-year old, I was thrilled at the prospect of going to Bombay (now Mumbai) on a school-sponsored trip.

I was excited by the prospect of travelling almost a thousand miles from Amritsar, a small town in north India, to the glamour of Bombay, the movie capital of India. There were legions of stories of how actors and actresses had been discovered after arriving penniless in Bombay.

So it was natural for me to brag about it to my friends and other people in the neighbourhood.

Chaman Lal's mother heard about my planned trip. She talked to my mother because she had an interest in Delhi, which was on the route to Bombay.

Memories of Bombay 1950s

Joginder Anand


Dr. Anand - an unholy person born in 1932 in the holy town of Nankana Sahib, central Punjab. A lawyer father, a doctor mother. Peripatetic childhood - almost gypsy style. Many schools. Many friends, ranging from a cobbler's son (poorly shod as the proverb goes) to a judge's son. MB from Glancy (now Government) Medical College Amritsar, 1958. Comet 4 to Heathrow, 1960.

Ancient widower. Two children and their families keep an eye on him. He lives alone in a small house with a small garden. Very fat pigeons, occasional sparrows, finches green and gold drop in to the garden, pick a seed or two and fly away.

In 1956, or was it 1955, I Spent about two months in Bombay. Rented a large room with bathroom and toilet but no kitchen, jointly with a young man (sight unseen) who worked in some office. A decent man, he went out early, came back late.

The room was on the first floor. My bed was next to the window. Out of the window you saw the Arabian Sea on which you saw little freighters with seamen wearing rings hopping in to boats. They would wave but I never waved back.

It was the monsoon season. You had a shower and "dried" yourself with a wet towel. The towel never dried. Every other day the towel would become mouldy and had to be thrown away.

Food? First thing in the morning I would get dressed and walk down. Catch a bus. Would alight by a Poori Bhaji stall. Then walk a bit and buy small red bananas.

The Bombay I loved is Gone

Jatinder Sethi



Sethi with granddaughter Abha

Jatinder Sethi, shown with his granddaughter Abha, was born in Lyallpur, now Faisalabad, in pre-Independence India. He finished his M.A. (English) from Delhi University in 1956, and went off to London to study Advertising in 1958. He passed his Membership Exam of The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (M.I.P.A) in1965, and joined Rallis India in Bombay. Later, for over 20 years, he worked for the advertising agency Ogilvy &amp\; Mather. Now retired, he helps his son in his ad agency in Delhi.

The old (1956) Dev Anand movie C I D - had this very popular song

Zarra Hut Kay, Zarra Bucch Kay
Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan

Sung by Mohammed Rafi and Geeta Dutt, filmed on the great Johnny Walker.

In 1956/57, after finishing my Masters in English from Delhi University, and having found my love of life, like hundreds of other non-professional job-seekers, I went to Bombay hoping to strike gold and find a job. A job could then be the jumping ground for my marriage proposal. I stayed with my elder sister, who lived at R P Masani Road, Matunga.

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