A peek into the Parsi bastion in Colaba, which is out of bounds for most Mumbaikars
On Colaba Causeway, there is a place that intrigues the non-Parsis a lot. For over six years, we've have gone up and down the Causeway a million times, each time thinking about what goes on within the fortress called Cusrow Baug. A lovely residential sanctuary, the Baug situated across the road from Café Churchill is also a gateway to traditional Parsi ways of life and culture.
Cusrow Baug was built in 1934 after two years of construction. In present day Mumbai, it may seem totally unbelievable, but the Baug covers an area of 84,000 square yards and is home to over 500 families. The houses are all on a rental basis and cannot be sold.
There is a designated trust looking after maintenance of the place. This ensures that the place remains exclusive to the community.
A dedicated website called cusrowbaug.org tells us that self-contained as it is, the Baug has an Agiary named The Seth Nusserwanji Hirji Karani Agiary. It also has a social activities cell which carries out educational initiatives, including religion classes and some scholarships. The Religious Class in the baug is one of the most valuable and dedicated service of the colony to the Parsi community. This is credited to a few dedicated people who have carried out social service for the past 22 years. There is also a full-fledged sports centre called Cusrow Baug United Sports and Welfare League. They have a computer centre and a gymnasium too. However, this website hasn't been updated since 2004.
For the Parsis, the dwindling numbers of the community is quite a huge concern. Even at Cusrow Baug there aren't many young people around. No wonder then that it is no less than a festival for them when neighbours fall in love and get married to stay in the Baug forever.
Cusrow Baug remains a place surrounded by mysterious charm. For its residents, it is the best place on earth. For most of us, this haven is out of bounds.