Picnic at Juhu Beach
This photograph of our family was taken by my youngest kaka (uncle) Shapoor at Juhu Beach. We had all gone out to Juhu beach for a picnic, outside the Palm Grove hotel (now Ramada Plaza Palm Grove). It was a regular haunt for picnics and we used to look forward to our day out for weeks. The beach was totally un-spoilt and had only a few small shacks around. Now I wouldn’t go even if someone paid me for it.
I remember, we would take the train from Grant Road to Santa Cruz and then take a bus to Juhu beach. At that time the Bombay trains were not called Western or Central railways. The Western line was called BB & CI – Bombay Baroda and Central India Railways and the Central line was called GIP – Great Indian Peninsula Railway. I don’t remember what we would do though, I think mainly chatter, run around, eat and some of us swam. Picnic lunches were fun, sometimes they were large tiffins full of Pork Vindaloo. It was very tasty.
In the middle wearing a white dress is Freny, now my beautiful wife, and on her left is me. Freny and I are also first cousins, our fathers were real brothers. Like some other communities in India, in Parsis too,marriage between cousins is allowed. Though we weren’t an arranged match, we just fell in love with each other. She was beautiful. I think even at this picnic I was eyeing her. Our parents must have noticed and declared that we must be made into a match. There was no ‘dating’ at the time, so the way I would get to meet her was – when she would be attending the girl guides meeting, I would go and fetch her back. We would walk through Azad Maidan and at Churchgate take the train to Grant road. At the time she used to live at Sleater Road. A lot of boys were after her, she was a beautiful girl you know, but I got her.
At that time there was not much entertainment for us in Bombay. In school, we were big on Hollywood movies. It was our only past time. On Thursdays and Sundays, we’d be standing in the queue at the Metro Cinema (now Metro Big Cinema) and buy tickets for Four Annas (one Anna was 1/16 of a Rupee).
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Your write-up took me back in time when Juhu Beach was uncluttered and pristine clean. We would start early in the morning and reach there by 7.30 and have fun till sun would become intollerable. Picnic baskets were opened and out came surprised from each of our family friends. O for those simple, beautiful days. Staying at Fort was a great advantage, being a hollywood movie buff. The tickets used to be 10annas and 2 paise (sara dus anna). when we went with Papa it would be the balcony Rs2 and 10 annas. Hope you continue in good health with your dear wife and write more.
“Dear Yazdi, Thank you for sharing with us an intimate moment with your beloved family, much appreciated.” ~ Neville
Dear Mr Tarapore
Thank you for this lovely picture and descriptive article. I was born in 1954 and remember both gowalia tank and juhu beach when they were clean and uncrowded .
Please let us have more such pictures and articles .
Mrs. Shireen Elavia