I remember as a little boy when Bandra (West) was a sleepy little Christian community. Most of the kids from the little Christian community that I grew up in went on to St. Andrews. For a long time, the only decent movie theatres for the Western suburb-dwellers were Gaiety-Galaxy-Gemini. By the late 90s, Linking Road had replaced Fashion Street as the go-to place for college students’ wardrobes. Bags, shoes, clothes, accessories, they were all available on the numerous tables and tiny stalls that spotted Hill Road and Linking Road.
At the turn of the millennium, all of that seemed to change. There was a concerted effort to ‘rebrand’ Bandra. Promenades got cleaned up and beautified. Restaurants popped up. The street market was cleared away and the surviving shops packed into compact ground-floor stalls off Linking Road. Gullies that housed the clothes-end of the street market got hip and found itself home to malls, fast food joints and restaurants. Suddenly everybody seemed to be going on about ‘The Queen of the Suburbs’. Bandra was the new ‘it’ place in town.
Over the past few years, Bandra has seen nightclubs, haute cuisine, exclusive boutiques and fad concept shops. It has also drawn an equally flashy population, ranging from local celebrities to yuppie stars. The old cottages and villas are being fast replaced by high rise buildings at higher prices.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)