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  • Writer's pictureAdil Malia

A Victorian Ride

Missed the era of trams but certainly experienced taking leisurely rides in the beautiful horse-drawn Victorian Carriages, in its phasing out stages in Bombay.

Wonder if you ever experienced it ?

Though I hated the concept of British Colonisation as a child, I looked forward to relaxed travelling by these 'buggies'.... charm of a bygone era ! You never took a Victoria if you were in a hurry. You started to walk !

One could sit in the carriage pretending to be member of some Royal clan.The South Bombay Buildings privately narrated their woe to you.

The rates varied. It was a test of your negotiation skills. Ghodawalla's 'chabuk' was fiery. Each time he cracked it in the air pretending to whip the horse, the humanist in us would wake-up to fight with him for animal cruelty.

The 'ghoda-gadee' business started becoming unviable. Taxis took over the domestic travel business.Over time, the carriages too were collapsing. Horses were unkempt, looked starved, rickety & would stink. Real estate prices were soaring. Stables started becoming condominiums.

The animal rights activists, took up cudgels for the horses and the Victorias went off the roads. Thank God they did. So what if I miss my Royal Victorian rides.But some memories just don't fade away

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