Such a Long Journey to "Such a Long Journey"
A wax leg and a wax nose, they have been my obsession since summer 2014.
Last summer, I read Bombay born Canadian novelist Rohinton Mistry's "Such a Long Journey" (1991), a story of daily life of a Parsi citizen in Bombay during Indo-Pakistani War in 1971.
A family man, a bank clerk Gustad Noble faces some trouble with his children, his neighbours, his colleagues, and his friend who had been out of sight since some time.
Its detailed description brought me among these caracters, to the streets of Bombay, to the places where I know, such as Crawford Market, Fountain, Churchgate area......but in another period.
I just loved this novel so much that I did not wanted to finish the book.
Then, I revisited Mumbai in February 2015......
I get a ticket and take Locals (Western Railways) at Churchgate Station.
*** in the novel, Gustad and his old friend Malcolm took suburban train from Grant Road Station, three stations ahead. ***
Inside "Ladies Only" coach.
*** in the novel, Gustad and Malcolm did see this only from outside ! ***
I get off the train at Bandra Station, and take Auto (Auto-Lickshaw). First ride 17 Rupees on meter, it's not necessary to negotiate.
*** in the novel, Gustad and Malcolm took unmetered taxi, after fare negotiation. ***
Here I am !
Mount Mary Church, Bandra (Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount).
The original edifice was constructed near lands end by Portuguese Jesuit in 16th century.
Wooden statue of Virgin Mary was arrived with them.
The present church (4th edifice) was completed in 1904 after two years' construction. So what you see now is 110 years' old edifice.
Every year in September during Bandra Fair, thousands of devotees visit here.
Wow! I did not expect this light blue windows !
I find three stalls in front of Church's gate, where religious articles and wax figures displayed.
I learned by the novel that people who suffer from pain or sick offer up the wax body parts figures, hoping that Virgin Mary will help for recover.
I pick up what I need --- a leg and a nose for me and for my family, but......
"Sweet Home" ? "TV" ? "Car" ? "Dog" ?
Does it mean people wish these "House" or "TV" or "Car" or "Dog" being repaired ?
Or, they just wish they would obtain these items ?
*** in the novel, Gustad bought a female child's torse for his daughter Roshan, a male head for his son Sohrab, a male figure for his colleague Dinshawji, and finally a leg for himself. Malcolm describes that Mother Mary is "Mechanic of repair shop for sufferers and she mends everything" ! I find this part of novel quite witty !***
Light blue color is also seen inside the church. Bright color interior reminds me the churches in southern Europe.
The statue of Our Lady is said to be found floating in the sea by fishermen. It was repaired when the 3rd edifice was rebuilt in 1761.
Before offering up my wax figures, I have a look at edifice and find a "Consulting --->" sign.
I look into the room, a priest is receiving a young couple. He explains that the couple wishes to have a child.
Did they buy child wax figure ?
I wonder why people started to offer up wax figure.
"Please do not feel obliging you to offer up wax figure for your wish. Just offering up your prayers, God will listen to you." said the priest warmly.
*** in the novel, Malcolm explains to Gustad that Baby Jesus on Mother Mary's left arm moves once a year, left arm to right, right arm to left, and no one knows how it happens. The Child Jesus was in fact placed upon repairing Mother Mary's statue in 17th century, and he is detachable. ***
I finish my little adventure named by myself "Such a Long Journey" ;-D, and have a short Auto-ride to Ranwar Village, an old catholic residential area in Bandra.
The statues of Virgin Mary worshipped in places, old houses, some are wooden, Childrens, vendors....village feel (you can see in the film "The Lunchbox"), how charming the area is !
I find a western style cafe in the middle of this old village, full of posh young mumbaikers and foreigners ;
Fig Honey Milkshake at Birdsong Cafe.
address : Jenu-Jenai, Waroda road, Off Hill road, Bandra West, Mumbai
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