There are very few leafy streets left in Mumbai these days particularly wide ones with old trees and old buildings. Rampart Row which was so called because it was once the rampart of the fort that was Bombay, is one such lovely road. Of course the name has now been changed to K. Dubash Marg and the equestrian statue of King Edward VII that marked the beginning of the road giving it its name Kala Ghoda has been shifted like many British statues to the zoo.
Lots more has changed too and Bombay has become Mumbai bringing with it an Indianisation that has detracted from its original charm. Always a business district, it has for many years fallen to disrepute particularly after dark when the streets would come alive to shady drug peddlers and fancy hookers.
But of late , things seem to be getting cleaned up or so it seemed when I visited Concern India Foundation yesterday morning. I was pleasantly surprised to see a new Ritu Kumar store and a Gallery 7 , a new art gallery come up. This neighbourhood has already seen a renewed gentrification with eateries, boutiques sharing space with the iconic Jehangir Art Gallery , the Museums and the existing old yellow stone buildings being given a good scrub down.
I used to think it was a bit facetious to call this place an Art District or Precinct , but yesterday ‘s walk convinced me that it was indeed worthy of its name.
With the Hacienda and the Institute of Contemporary Indian Art nearby and the Jehangir Art Gallery across the road, art connoisseurs can have a feast of beautiful contemporary Indian artwork to feast on .
For those who think diamonds are a girl’s best friend, be prepared to be dazzled by Nirav Modi’s swank showroom
And for all those who love haute couture, discover the charms of the evergreen Ritu Kumar who has dressed so many international beauty pageant contestants.
And of course, those who love Vidya Balan would love to step into Sabyasachi’s simply magical store with its unbelievable carpets, watches and extravagant opulence.
The elegant signposting outside Gallery 7
Finally, the street itself – an oasis of relative calm in the middle of a busy afternoon!