The House at 43, Hill Road
Author : Brenda Rodrigues
9788193835326 | PB | pp. 250 | 2017 | Bombaykala Books
The House at 43, Hill Road transports the reader back in time, from the world of the aristocratic Braz Rodrigues, who built it in the 1850s, to the 1994 surrender of the building to land grabbers.
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The House at 43, Hill Road chronicles the lives and times of the family of the aristocratic Braz Rodrigues, who, in the mid-1800s, built his bungalow on Bandra’s main road, where he lived in grand style with a retinue of butlers, servants and coachmen. The book recounts interesting foibles, quarrels, pranks, family lore, and tragic happenings spanning five generations, and the story of Lydia, who stamped the address on the international bridal trousseau map.
The book goes on to provide a meticulously documented account of how government authorities actively assisted land-grabbers who were out to take over that property in Bandra’s prime commercial area. For six years, the author, Brenda and her husband, Joe, great grandson of Braz, single-handedly fought over 70 cases, faced assaults and threats and even had to hide their children in a distant place.
“Brenda’s narrative can either terrify you or inspire you. You may feel glad that you don’t have property in a prime area to protect, or help you draw courage from this couple to fight for your house. Here, you will find all the intrigue, manipulation and suspense of television drama, but Brenda chooses to be documentarian, recounting every step of the case in great detail. It may leave you wondering if the dispute was going around in circles, but that is precisely how long-drawn and exhausting it was at the heart of the tale, is the sad truth about the disappearing East Indian community, known as the original inhabitants of this city, who are continually selling off their property and moving away from their ancestral homes and even Mumbai.”
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