Mumbai’s Malcolm Baug, a Parsi colony, celebrated its centenary this year, with residents praising its serene atmosphere and self-contained amenities.
Mumbai: Going past the many tabelas that Jogeshwari west is famous for, one reaches a serene, tree-laden paradise, called the Malcolm Baug – a Parsi colony which feels like a whole new world, especially in a fast-paced city like Mumbai.
Article By Linah Baliga Hindustan Times
Mumbai, India – Nov. 19, 2023: A view of Malcolm Baug colony during centenary celebration at Jogeshwari in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, November 19, 2023. (Photo by Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Constructed in the year 1922, Malcolm Baug completed 100 years as a Parsi colony this year and its oldest residents call it their very own “hill station” within Mumbai, comprising some 40-50 odd quaint bungalows with 23 buildings. A new structure named HongKong House, along with A and B buildings were constructed recently.
The colony is a kind of place where one can take leisurely walks or just roam the colony premises to listen to chirping birds.
Dolly Bhagalia, a resident of Malcom Baug for the last 60 years, said, “For me, it is like a haven in Mumbai. I remember that when I used to work, I used to get off from the train, cut across the road and enter Malcolm Baug. The minute I entered, there was a drop in temperature with coconut palms on either side of the road.”
Living in the gated community was a real boon and a blessing, she noted. “It is totally self-contained. We have the fish, meat and vegetable vendors coming to our doorstep. We have got a school, an agiary and a gymkhana and the layout is beautiful, comprising a combination of bungalows and blocks with a garden in front and a vegetable, flower and fruit garden at the back,” said Bhagalia.
The colony has a lovely gymkhana where seniors take rounds. Activities are also organised for children and for senior citizens within the gated community.
Shavir Irani, another resident of the colony who has lived here for 15 years said, “Once we enter Malcolm Baug, it feels like a hill station and we have got all the gaming facilities like football, throwball, volleyball. We have grounds and a gymnasium inside. We need not go out to play. Nowadays if we want to go out somewhere to play, we are stuck in traffic and it is tedious. But here, we have all amenities inside the colony.”
Bhagalia said that boys and girls get to intermingle in the colony and thus many marriages also have taken place.
“It is a place where we feel safe and secure. Our children can go walking and cycling when they wish,” added Bhagalia.
Colony residents and former residents were busy this weekend with a flurry of activities to mark the centenary. The entire Baug was lit up including Bai Motribai Adaran, Malcolm Hall, gymkhana pavilion and building number 1. A jashn ceremony was organised at 5pm on Sunday, where 101 Mobed Saheb headed by Vada Dasturji Keki C Ravji Meherji Rana was performed at the Himai and Jimi Kathwala Memorial hall, followed by an entertainment programme at the Malcolm hall. A sumptuous Parsi dinner comprising achar, rotli, saria, atheli chicken, tandoori pomfret, bharuch akuri, Russian pattice, mutton pulao, dal and ice-cream rounded off the evening.
The centenary celebrations were sponsored by Retd Justice Shahrukh Kathawala, who spent a major part of his childhood in Malcolm Baug and currently owns a flat in the premises. He also built the Kathawala hall where religious rituals of the community are held. The NM Wadia Charities, who own the place, have gardeners for the upkeep of the gardens, whereas the Malcolm Baug Zoroastrian Association takes care of senior citizens and water supply.