A way of life for the Goans, hidden amid the hustle, bustle of Mumbai
MUMBAI: There are clubs in Mumbai where the house rules include compulsory evening rosary and lights out at 10 pm. They’re called kudds, and they were set up 100 to 150 years ago, to help migrant workers from rural Goa find their feet in Bombay.
Incredibly, the dormitorystyle spaces are still in use.
At their peak, there were 450 kudds in the city (the word is Konkani for ‘room). Today, 160 remain, scattered across Mazgaon, Dhobi Talao and Chira Bazaar. Each is named after the Goan village it serves, and is open only to Catholic men from that village.
“When I first came here 20 years ago, my shoulders would graze against the shoulder of shippies sleeping on either side. That’s how packed the club used to be. Now, there is enough space for me to roll around on the floor,” says Nalvey Fernandes, 35, who works as a waiter on a cruise ship and has spent a week of his three-month layover at the Carmona kudd near Dhobi Talao, finishing paperwork at his company’s Mumbai office and shopping at Crawford Market for his family.
Despite monthly rents as low as Rs50, the number of users is dwindling — mainly because there are now direct flights from Goa, so the need for an overnight halt no longer exists.
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Dhobi Talao’s Jer Mahal Estate still houses 23 kudds.