The house with a view

I really thought this one would be an easy guess. Why is the Carmel View called so? There’s, after all, the Mount Carmel Church right in front of the gate of this house in Bandra Reclamation.

But, assumptions as they say…

Royce Pereira laughs and tells me that there was a time when he could see the sea from the house. “A lot of places were named Carmel at the time, even the church. It had nothing to do with the Church,” he adds.

The house, says the 74 year old, stands on a plot bought by the St Sebastian Society in 1912. The society owns 125 plots and only Catholics are allowed to buy these plots. “My father Louis Pereira, bought the plot in 1925, the lease is for 999 years. No non-Catholic can buy the plot, and even a commercial establishment can’t come up here,” he says. The construction of the ground-plus-one structure began in 1934 and was completed the next year.

Royce and his wife Lourdes, 73,

who was very welcoming of the probing eyes of this blog, are proud of the original tiles that still adorn the floor of the house. “They haven’t got spoilt at all. In fact, the tiles I had installed later in another part of the house have lost their shine, not these,” she says.

The couple remembers a time when the St Aloysius High School across the road, was just a ground floor structure. “We could see the Matunga rail lines and Mahim Causeway from here. The land where Lilavati Hospital stands now was reclaimed in the 1970s,” says Lourdes. “I would walk from here to Causeway which was all barren land. The buildings came much later,” she adds.

When Carmel View turned 75 years old, the family had it blessed and called the entire family to celebrate.