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There are houses across Mumbai that demand your attention and your admiring glances, whatever state they are in. This is one of them.

As is my style, I noticed Javed Mazil while going past it on my way home. The first time. The second time I was looking out for it and missed it. But the third time I craned my neck to the right and ensured I caught a glimpse of it. It’s a ritual that I don’t miss while taking Cadell Road. And can you blame me?

Built in 1936, the house has probably seen few repairs over the last century. But, it still retains a beauty. I would call it an old world charm, except that the clichéd term doesn’t fit well here. Javed Manzil is more like Madhubala. Its beauty cannot be timed. It may not match up to current size-zero standards, but one look at the house – almost entirely made of wood – and you’d rather throw the standards out of its quaint windows.

The current owner, Suhail Khandwani, says the house has exchanged several hands over the past 86 years. He adds that none of the original owners are around today, so getting information on its history might be a little difficult.

Today, there are several families living here as tenants.

“Our family bought the house in 1976 and planned to move here,” says Khandwani, whose family has been living in Mahim for generations now.

But here is where art and architecture lovers need to take a deep breath.

The ground-plus-one structure has been cleared for redevelopment and shall soon be pulled down. Khandwani says Javed Manzil was supposed to be a family home. “Had the situation been different, we would have kept the house as it is.”

We can’t change things, but that’s no reason to stop us from admiring the beauty that Javed Mazil is. So if you know anything about this house, who lived here, who owned it… anything, drop in a comment and it shall be approved.

 

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