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   I often miss the trams of my life... (August 26, 1993)

I often miss the trams of my life.

We used to take the No.0 (zero) tram from Sassoon Dock (which smelt of fish even then, but not rotting fish) to Museum. That was its run. Sassoon Dock to Museum and back, what may be called a shuttle tram. It was a single-decker, but two compartments joined together.

There was one conductor per compartment and the driver had puttees bandaged around his legs, the king that former Indian soldiers, wore, what the British referred to as native soldiers. Since the driver was a tram driver, he had to stand and drive, the puttees were so that his legs would nto collapse.

The trams had no horns, but there were bells at the feet of the drivers, embedded in the platform. They would stamp them with their feet and they would clang. Getting in and out of trams, we would stamp on the bells.

Museum was the big tram termins, the spot where the buses terminate just now and where the urinal stinks. You would think that a major unit of the Bombay Municipal Corporation, like the BEST, would teach its conductors how to urinate and keep the urinals clean.

The place was much cleaner then. We would get off the No.0 trams and get into the new trams, which would be travelling all over Bombay. There were single and double-deckers. One of out great joys was sitting upstairs, but most of the time we were made to sit down.

There were two Museum stops. Museum West was what I am talking about, Museum East was the reat side of Museum East was the rear side of Museum, on Rampart Road, now renamed after one of Adi Dubash's relations. The trams would come down the present Mahatma Gandhi Road, past the university, then turn at Kala Ghoda, proceed towards Lion Gate, take a circle and come to a halt at Museum West.

At a time, there would be dozens of trams waiting there; we would find our number and get in. That was all there was to it, no queues, no through crowds. Btu then, life itself was simple.

I don't quite remember now, but No.8 took us through crowded Girguam and around Foras Road and Bellasis Road all the way to Dadar Tram Terminus (what we now refer to as Dadar T.T., which goes to show that some names are never forgoteen). No.5 went further, to King's Circle, via Mohamedali Road. And King's Circle was the extreme end of Bombay.

But there were other routes: one route threaded through Kalbadevi, a road as crowded then as it is now; Now. 13 and 16, via Mint Road and Crowford Market, Abdul Rehman Street and Pydhonie to Tardev and Gowalia Tank respectively. There was a tram (route No. 7, I think) that ran from Flora Fountain, between the Azad and Cross Maidans, to Girguam Portguese Church. Whether it was or not, I cannot say, but it was generally known as the fastest tram is Ais. For that matter, the Bombay police were know as the finest police force in the world, though even in those early days I doubted this claim.

You could also change trams on the same ticket, like you could take a No.8 to Charni Road Junction, then change to No.16 and proceed to Nana Chowk. And wherever you travelled, how many changes you made, the fare was one Anna (the present six paise).

There were BEST buses also. But we rarely used them. They were too expensive for us.

 
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