First there was the original Cuffe Parade, dating back to 1905, named after T.W. Cuffe of the City Improvement Trust. It comprised 75,000 square metres of land reclaimed to the west of Colaba, then a shore with the sea just beyond. As expected, it was opposed, including by eminent citizens like Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, on the grounds that such a large area of land coming on the market would depress prices! The work was nevertheless carried out, and completed in 1905. Land prices did not fall.
The seafront road along with a raised sea-side promenade were completed the next year. The raised portion was the Parade attached to Cuffe’s name.
In the 1960’s, the next phase of reclamation began culminating in the strange-looking mini-Manhattan at the southern tip of Mumbai. The bungalows fronting the old Parade have not seen the sea for the long time, those that are still left, that it. And now we learn there is another Cuffe Parade, from hoardings advertising a new development in the Wadala salt pan area and promising paradise.
Since the first Cuffe Parade created 106 years ago, two things have been cleared up. One, that no amount of reclamation in Mumbai will ever bring real estate prices down. Two, that Mumbai at best will be workable, functional, fairly efficient and it will increasingly be hell.
So enjoy this idyllic view of Nariman Point seen from the home of eminent homeopath Mukesh Batra in Cuffe Parade. And remember, the sea lapping the bay is toxic!