My old economics professor, Abhay Pethe, made an announcement that has made me quite happy. Mid-Day reports that
as part of its 150-year celebrations, Mumbai University will repair Rajabai Tower, one of the city’s most famous Gothic landmarks, and open it to the public. The clock tower has been closed to the public for many years now and is unsafe at the moment.
What fun. Since childhood I’ve wanted to climb up and take in the majestic view of Oval Maidan and the sea beyond Churchgate from the Rajabai Tower. It’s been kept closed ostensibly because it was a popular place to jump to your death. But so was the Eiffel Tower. The French built a strong wire net that enclosed the entire viewing gallery. You get a panoramic view of Paris without the police worrying about falling bodies! Mumbai University can make similar arrangements so that we can enjoy the view without worrying whether the lovers quarrelling in the far corner are going to take the aerial route down.
Wikipedia has a nice picture of the tower. In the background you can see the post-modern Bombay Stock Exchange building. Before architecture purists complain that it spoils the view, it may be prudent to note that the founder of the Stock Exchange paid for the construction of Rajabai Tower.
And I wonder how many of us living in Mumbai know what the building is used for? It houses the Fort wing of the excellent University Library. A beautiful place to spend an afternoon reading up for your assignment in the soft light thrown by the stained glass windows. And I’m sure it will be just as serene in the night, if the proposal of the student’s council to have the library open 24/7 is passed.