Wayside Inn

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Located in Mumbai's iconic art district, Kala Ghoda, on the corner of Rampart Row, and across from Rhythm House, Wayside Inn was restaurant that was home to many influential figures since the 1940s. It was taken over by Maneckji Patel from an Englishwoman in 1933 and offered refuge to radicals, poets, and British and American soldiers.

Dr Ambedkar is said to have dined in the establishment daily and even is rumoured to have written notes for his draft of the Indian Constitution while there. Table no 4 was his favourite, and the year was 1948.

Bent over foolscap sheets, next to neatly rowed pencils and eraser, he'd ask for a pen from time to time.

Propreitor Pervez Patel.

Numerous Bombay poets, particularly the Clearing House poets used to call Wayside Inn Home. In his cycle of Kala Ghoda poems, Arun Kolatkar even paid tribute to the venue in his poem, Breakfast Time at Kala Ghoda. In fact, many poems in the sequence are written as if viewed from a table inside the establishment. For 15 years, Kolatkar sat at Wayside Inn every Thursday afternoon.

Russi Karanjia, Benjamin Horniman and Dinkar Nadkarni also met here to discuss the formation of their revolutionary publication Blitz.

Was forced to shut down in February 2002, unable to survive in a rapidly changing Mumbai landscape.

Samovar’s gone. So is Wayside Inn. Eros is about to shut down. So is Strand Book Stall, once the city’s best bookshop. Irani cafes look tired. The old brothels have disappeared. Only Sahir’s words resonate in a city where nothing survives but the loneliness of its people.

Pritish Nandy, editor of Illustrated Weekly in the 80s and media personality.