logo image Tracing the identity & history of the Indian Subcontinent via family archives

25 – The plush bunglow with Viennese furniture that became an Ashram

These pictures of the Drawing Room, Dining Room and Lounge was home to my uncle and aunt, Nani & Mehra Moos. This is also my birthplace (1923) My parents and grandparents shared the house. It was constructed in Bandra, Bombay in 1923 and is now stands behind the Hotel Taj Lands End.

Image and Text Contributed by Feroza H Seervai

I was born in this house in 1923 and we lived there until 1941. My uncle was a barrister, then a Solicitor, (Partner in Payne and Co. Solicitors), and still later, High Court Receiver.

The most distinguished Barrister at the High Court in Bombay, Inverarity (cited with Moos), was my uncle’s friend, and often spent days in this house.  At one stage he is said to have suffered losses in investment and I heard that he made a bonfire in my uncle’s garden of his investment certificates. My sister was 13 years elder to me and she had interacted with Inverarity.  If I am not mistaken he died while I was an infant. Whether he died in Scotland or in India, I am not sure.

50 or 60  years ago, this bungalow, along with 8000 sq. yds. of land and a cottage on an elevated part was sold for Rs. 3 lakhs, without the furniture, which had been imported from Vienna. A lot of the furniture was then bought by Maharani Chimnabai Gaekwad of Baroda sometime in the early 1940s.

The old bungalow now houses the Father Agnel Ashram, since the Priests of the Order of Pilar purchased the property. There is a Church within it, and on the land are many educational institutions.

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Responses (5)

  1. Suzanne Bennett says:

    Very interested to see this page – my father’s guardian was HAH Payne of Payne & Co – I met with Mr Mehta in London some years ago – trying to find my fathers ancestry (born in Poona)

  2. narayan says:

    I seem to remember the name Goody Seervai from ages ago. Any connection there?

  3. Avinash says:

    I’m particularly interested in the Viennese furniture. Was any of it bent wood? What’s the Viennese connection?

  4. Ch J Satyananda Kumar says:

    The steel beam and Burma teak supported terraced roofs of the yore are architectural marvels.

    Satyananda Kumar

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