Mumbai chawls, Decades’ old legacy

Decorated neighbourhood at Mumbai chawls
Decorated neighbourhood at Mumbai chawls – An aftermath of festive season

Mumbai chawls…..  What are chawls? Broadly, chawls are really small, cluttered living spaces, which provide accomodations for the lower class section of society.

 Just when I see these rumbling dwellings around the city, specially in and around some older areas, I find it very mesmerising. As a matter of fact I sometimes think of these buildings as an age-old legacy which people have inherited, the legacy which they have carried since decades now. When I looked closer at each one of these, I found out that they had been there since long, surrounded with their developing newer peers or I should say new babies, the new buildings.

Old rumbling chawls
Old rumbling house

These old houses have now become a part and parcel of the ethos of Mumbai city.

An old gateway adjacent to mumbai chawls
An old gateway near mumbai chawls

It’s a fact and something that cannot be ignored – that Mumbai is growing vertically. In this hustling and bustling city, these buildings stand tall as if they are changing with the world and standing besides each other with their own pride. It’s a blend of old and new which is very fascinating.

Old Chawl
Old Chawl with commercial shops on ground floor

It’s very common and yes, it will look like as if these have come of age and are beginning to wither, but many big business are still being run from these old buildings. Places like B.M.C. (Brinhanmumbai Municipal Corporation), Mantralya, Mumbai Police Headquarters, the age-old Crawford Market, etc., are being operated from its sibling buildings from the colonial era.

Old Chawl and new building
Old Chawl and new building

Since I have been roaming on the streets of Mumbai for quite a while now, I have seen and observed that with the changing time these places are losing their values, just because they don’t fit to our needs and expectations any longer.

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