Gulabi Yatra – A journey of Gay historical places of Mumbai

By Aaditya 

Gulabi Yatra

The Yaatra began at Maheshwari Garden – the sun had set. All tourists assembled under the gazebo. Vivek Anand and Ashok Row Kavi described different aspects of the park – the strategic location, the catwalk in the center and the routine during closing time. Then, all of us walked to Matunga station and took the Z-bridge.

The Z-bridge was (*clears his throat*) very hot. Apparently, a lot men used to meet there as well. Then, came the best part – when ~60 gay men, women and supporters boarded a 2X2 and took over. We sang songs and danced – it was a thorough joy-ride. Some of the onlookers were singing softly with us – nearly all were amused.

We got off at Churchgate station. Some of us grabbed food at the eateries there. Suhail Abbasi described the Churchgate station loo and some of his (mis)adventures. The troop then walked past Oval maidan to Cooperage ground. A police officer on a bike stopped next to us and asked what we were doing. He left soon after. On the other side of Cooperage ground, Suhail described how it used to be a meeting place for people in 1940s as well – with British sailors joining. (I gasped in excitement at the description Suhail gave.)

Then, we walked towards the sea to the Walls. Some of us were held back for a beverage (I was one of them). Then, the Yatra proceeded to Voodoos – describing the pro-gay owner of the place and how it later turned seedy. Finally, we ended at Gokul – the adda of the gay men back then.

Beer with people in Gokul followed. Overall, it was a unique concept and I feel I truly ‘relived'(\cite{Sibi}) the past and realized that indeed ‘those were happy days’ (\cite{Ashok Row Kavi}). I was unaware of many of these anecdotes from Mumbai’s LGBT history – and I feel awesome to know how it was like.
I thank everyone who contributed to this event for the wonderful time.The Yaatra began at Maheshwari Garden – the sun had set. All tourists assembled under the gazebo. Vivek Anand and Ashok Row Kavi described different aspects of the park – the strategic location, the catwalk in the center and the routine during closing time. Then, all of us walked to Matunga station and took the Z-bridge.

The Z-bridge was (*clears his throat*) very hot. Apparently, a lot men used to meet there as well. Then, came the best part – when ~60 gay men, women and supporters boarded a 2X2 and took over. We sang songs and danced – it was a thorough joy-ride. Some of the onlookers were singing softly with us – nearly all were amused.

We got off at Churchgate station. Some of us grabbed food at the eateries there. Suhail Abbasi described the Churchgate station loo and some of his (mis)adventures. The troop then walked past Oval maidan to Cooperage ground. A police officer on a bike stopped next to us and asked what we were doing. He left soon after. On the other side of Cooperage ground, Suhail described how it used to be a meeting place for people in 1940s as well – with British sailors joining. (I gasped in excitement at the description Suhail gave.)

Then, we walked towards the sea to the Walls. Some of us were held back for a beverage (I was one of them). Then, the Yatra proceeded to Voodoos – describing the pro-gay owner of the place and how it later turned seedy. Finally, we ended at Gokul – the adda of the gay men back then.

Beer with people in Gokul followed. Overall, it was a unique concept and I feel I truly ‘relived'(\cite{Sibi}) the past and realized that indeed ‘those were happy days’ (\cite{Ashok Row Kavi}). I was unaware of many of these anecdotes from Mumbai’s LGBT history – and I feel awesome to know how it was like.
I thank everyone who contributed to this event for the wonderful time.

Author: Ankit Bhuptani

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