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PHOTOS: Mumbai from the upper deck of a BEST bus

August 29, 2013 08:22 IST

PHOTOS: Mumbai from the upper deck of a BEST bus

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Uttam Ghosh in Mumbai

Rediff.com’s Uttam Ghosh describes how the scene from his window on one of Mumbai’s few double-decker buses changes as he travels from suburban Kurla to Bandra Terminus -- route no 310. 

The double-decker BEST buses has always fascinated me, especially the upper deck front window seat, the staircase, the rear windows and the green coloured interiors. I used to dream of travelling in these Mumbai red buses even when I was a child, living in a remote township at Ozar, Nashik.

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Image: Bus 310 at the Kurla bus stand
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Mumbai from the upper deck of a BEST bus

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Today we rarely see these iconic buses in Mumbai. There are hardly a hundred of them left and they ply a few routes only. I decided to take a route that people aren't used to seeing -- the bus passing along beaches and heritage structures of Mumbai. 

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Image: The route sign post at Kurla bus stand
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Mumbai from the upper deck of a BEST bus

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I chose to travel by a double-decker that is a feeder service between two railway stations -- Kurla suburban, a junction, and Bandra Terminus, an outstation starting point for trains going towards north India.

School children even today rush to the upper deck and fight for the front window seats. 

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Image: Bus 310 returning to Kurla from Bandra Terminus
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Mumbai from the upper deck of a BEST bus

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Route 310 is always crowded and is very popular with blue-collar workers, who work in the shiny air-conditioned offices in Bandra Kurla Complex, during the rush hour.

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Image: Bandra Kurla Complex
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Mumbai from the upper deck of a BEST bus

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The bus starts from Kurla with its old markets and passes a very narrow road with small residential colonies, old chawls, slums, a Budh Vihar and a Bene Israeli prayer hall.

As it heads towards the BKC you see auto parts dealers and scrap yards along the Mithi River. The mangroves surprisingly don't look clogged and blackish as it usually does all year round.

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Image: A scrap yard on the way to Bandra Kurla Complex
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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PHOTOS: Mumbai from the upper deck of a BEST bus

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BKC seems like another world. The pavements are well organised, the dividers are freshly painted, there are separate lanes for bicycles, with traffic signals, traffic signboards, modern bus stops, well maintained gardens, fountains and sculptures, glitzy high-rises, futuristic architecture.

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Image: The plush Bandra Kurla Complex
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
Tags: PHOTOS , BEST

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PHOTOS: Mumbai from the upper deck of a BEST bus

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On crossing BKC you arrive at the busy Kalanagar traffic junction and the marriage court. I saw a newly wed couple having an animated discussion with a lawyer.

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Image: A couple at the marriage court in Bandra
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
Tags: PHOTOS , BKC , BEST

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A skywalk that ended at the Bandra suburban station led us into a three-storied slum. The primary coloured 'cubist' homes made of galvanised iron sheets and circular dish antennas looked very attractive, but I wonder how Mumbaikars live in them.

I had a group of skilled workers for company on the upper deck; all going home after a day's work at the industrial units in Kurla. ‘Mumbai darshan karlo baara rupaye main’ said the team leader. 

(The fare from Kurla to Bandra Terminus is Rs 12 and my journey lasted 45 minutes. What I miss today in BEST buses are the ticket punches that the conductors used and the old tickets)

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Image: Slums near Bandra station
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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The skywalk at Bandra Railway Station.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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Slums on the way to Bandra terminus.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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Residential quarters at Bandra Kurla Complex.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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