I have to admit this. The Shirazi Bungalow stands among the top in the list of Bandra houses I have admired for a while. At once it’s both looming and pleasant. And it’s now on the blog (I shall take a bow).
Jawad Ismail Shirazi, who lives on the first floor of the early 20th century structure (it was built somewhere between 1910 and 1915) with his family, charts out its long history. “
Shirazi says his great grandfather Haji Ebrahim Busheri came to Mumbai from Iran around 1850 when he was 18 years old. Busheri was a merchant, trading in dry fruits and dates.
After amassing a comfortable amount of wealth Busheri bought this plot — it is 1760 square yard now, after certain portions have been taken away for road construction and other buildings for another section of the family — somewhere between 1865-1870 (this was over a century ago, so forgive us if the dates are not specific).
However, Busheri didn’t live here immediately. Shirazi says he lived in a building near Umerkhadi, near JJ Hospital. “He built a couple of bungalows there which are still standing,” adds Shirazi, saying that the area was, in the 1800s, the posh area of the city where all the rich merchants lived.
It’s evident when you see the flooring of the house and notice the marbles on the window sill (Italian marble and I am thrilled to say I identified it correctly). Also, as Shirazi proudly shows me, each bedroom has a China mosaic design unlike any other in the house. The coloured glass, he adds, is also the original. “None of the basics have changed. The wood, marble and layout are all similar,” he says. I tell him that the layout of the house, with the stairs at the back remind me of the Patkar Bungalow, down the street. Shirazi agrees.
He adds that the drainage system, as is true for all houses of this period, was added later in the 1930s.
The Busheris moved to the Bandra bungalow, which was originally called the old Busheri bungalow, in the early 1900s. Each floor has four bedrooms, a hall, a verandah in the front and a gallery at the back. Today, the Shirazi brothers and their wives and children live in the house.