EP 233 . 02 Feb 22

Bombaywalla Historical Works

With Simin Patel

In the episode

  1. “Typing is a prerequisite for shorthand and all the children want to appear for the exam so Mrs. K. S. Balsara has divided her Institute neatly, shorthand in the front-room and typing in the back-room with a balcony” OR “Prabhudas Ratansi Kalapi thought a circle of seven babies would make for a friendly logo for the talcum powder brand he was building in the 1930s- How does it matter? What is the Bombaywalla Project?
  2. Everything can be documented. How do you pick what is worth documenting? On what parameters? Location, Time, Community, Age, Scarcity… ?
  3. Do you think one life time is enough to document the rich Parsi heritage or layers of South Bombay? How and where do you draw this line since you see Irani Cafes in Matunga and Sion also?
  4. Your work seems to be cursors on a timeline. How does one double click on it. What will one uncover if they dig deep?
  5. What is your idea of story telling? Why do we need to tell stories? You have taken a really interesting way of story telling. Just one or 2 lines with a nice photo. Can you share the backstory or the reason behind it?
  6. Please share with us any one story which you found fascinating.
  7. What is the future of Bombaywalla Historical Works. How can one collaborate with you.

About Simin Patel

The following excerpt is from NewYork Times. “The Parsis kept their promise to the Gujaratis. In the 17th century, they started settling in Bombay, when it was still just seven islands. They spearheaded the Indian industrial revolution by building the first steel mills and textile factories; they built ships and launched the country’s first airline; they used their wealth to endow hospitals, laboratories and schools. They were also the first to adopt the British game of cricket, and their extravagant musical theater productions paved the way for Bollywood.”

This illustrates there is so much rich heritage of the the Parsi community which lends itself a unique character and design sensibilities to Mumbai. Dr. Simin Patel join us on Audiogyan. She is a city historian and the founder of Bombaywalla Historical works, a project that documents Mumbai’s various aspects, especially of south Mumbai and Parsi community.