Nostalgic Memories — Empress Court
I spent Six of the Best Years of My Life in Mumbai — Six glorious years from the years 2000 to 2006.
During these 6 best years of my life — I lived in EMPRESS COURT — my all time favourite home — the best house I have ever lived in during my entire life.
I wish I could have had my retirement home in that lovely neighbourhood — or nearby — but then — can an honest Naval Officer afford a house in South Mumbai…?
Maybe a Merchant Navy Officer can afford a house in “So Bo” (South Bombay) — but if you have spent your life honestly serving the nation in the “Fauji” Indian Navy — forget about Mumbai — you will not be able to afford a home in the heart of Pune — and — you would probably have to settle down in some faraway suburb like Wakad or Baner or Kharadi — or — in one of those Military Veteran “fauji ghettos” like Mundhwa, Kondhwa or Mohammadwadi — where most retired Defence Service Officers have settled down.
But in your mind’s eye — you can always hark back — and relive your “good old days” with nostalgia.
That is what I am going to do in the next few blog posts — I will reminisce about my glorious Mumbai days.
Here is the first post — on Empress Court — the best house I have ever lived in.
My Home in Mumbai For the Six Best Years of My Life
Nostalgic Memories By Vikram Karve
The next time you visit South Mumbai — go to Churchgate, admire the beautiful Art Deco style façade of the Eros Cinema, an architectural landmark, which marks the beginning of the Art Deco district of Oval Precinct.
Then — start walking southwards down Maharshi Karve Road — passing Eros — and — Sundance Cafe to your right — the verdant Oval Maidan across the road to your left.
Keep walking past splendid Art Deco buildings like Court View, Queens Court, Greenfield, Windsor, Rajesh Mansion.
Stop at the T-junction with Dinsha Vachha Road — look across the road — and — you will see the most magnificent building of them all — Empress Court.
Pause for a moment to appreciate the splendid Pista Green building with its exquisite façade.
(During a visit a few years ago — I saw that Empress Court had a new colour — do have a look at a recent picture of Empress Court at the end of this blog post)
After appreciating the lovely heritage building Empress Court — you can cross Dinsha Vachha road — walk towards Empress Court — enter the building through the elegant entrance of Empress Court — climb up the wooden spiral staircase to the second floor
(or — if you prefer — you may ride up in the ornate lift)
and — ring the doorbell.
If you had come around 20 years ago — from 2000 to 2006 — maybe — I would have opened the door — for this is the place where I spent the six best years of my life.
How can I ever forget Empress Court — the best house I have ever lived in.
Let’s go in.
A huge hall — dining room to the left — drawing room to the right — airy windows — and a cute circular balcony.
Stand in the Balcony — and — admire Mumbai University’s Rajabai Clock Tower right in front of you across the Oval — the High Court to its left — and Old Secretariat to the right.
All the buildings across the Oval are iconic Gothic Style majestic structures in stone.
Walk through the airy cool rooms — each with a balcony with excellent views.
Open the doors and windows — and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze.
Words cannot describe the blissful delight I felt when I lived here in Empress Court.
Close your eyes and think of GB Mhatre — the architect who crafted and designed this elegant apartment house.
Empress Court — facing the Rajabai Clock Tower — is located on the western side of the Oval — and — is a part of the heritage Fort Precinct.
The lush green Oval Maidan — a Grade I Heritage Precinct — an open space colonial pattern esplanade of scenic beauty — acting as a buffer between two architectural period styles:
1. The GOTHIC buildings of the Mumbai University — the Bombay High Court — and — the Old Secretariat to the East of the Oval (Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil Marg earlier called Mayo Road)
2. The ART DECO district to its West of the Oval (Maharshi Karve Road — earlier called Queens Road)
The location of Empress Court is ideal.
There is the Oxford Bookstore next door — where I spent delightful hours browsing books on elegant orange rocking chairs — refreshing myself with delicious cups of invigorating teas in the “Cha Bar”.
Just a short walk across Shankar Jaikishen Chowk — and past the Cricket Club of India (CCI) — and — you are on Marine Drive.
Opposite Empress Court is the lush green Oval Maidan — ideal for brisk walks in the mornings and evenings — and rollicking times playing with your pets.
The Business and Art districts, education, museums, sightseeing, shopping, good food, entertainment, night life, clubs, sports, bus and railway stations — everything is nearby.
You are right in the centre of everything that’s happening in Mumbai.
I shall never forget the clock atop Mumbai University Rajabai Tower — whose chimes woke me up at 6 AM every morning — to watch the glorious spectacle of the metamorphosis at sunrise — as the sun rose every morning — between the tall Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Building and the Rajabai Clock Tower.
How can I forget the soothing green Oval Maidan — the Football Matches at the Cooperage nearby — just down the street — and — the calm tranquil soothing sunsets on Marine Drive.
A RECENT PICTURE OF EMPRESS COURT (from the Internet)
Thank you Empress Court …!!!
I shall always cherish the 6 years I spent with you — yes six glorious years from 2000 to 2006 — the best years of my life — in the best place I have ever lived in.
Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
This Story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Links to my original/source blog post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/09/mumbai-memories-empress-court.html
Revised repost of my article written by me Vikram Karve more than 16 years ago in the year 2006 and posted online earlier in my various blogs a number of times including at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/05/mumbai-memories-empress-court-six-best.html and http://creative.sulekha.com/empress-court-the-most-beautiful-building-in-the-art-deco-district-of-the-oval-heritage-precinct-in-mumbai_494023_blog and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/01/mumbai-memories-empress-court.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2011/01/mumbai-memories-empress-court.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2019/11/18/mumbai-memories-empress-court-my-lovely-art-deco-heritage-home/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/mumbai-memories-empress-court-the-best-house-i-have-ever-lived-in/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/04/17/world-heritage-day-story-empress-court-art-deco-in-mumbai/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/12/13/empress-court-2/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2022/05/16/nostalgic-memories-my-home-in-mumbai-for-the-six-best-years-of-my-life-empress-court/ etc
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.