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Crumbling Stories

Jer Mahal is just a building from afar, from close by it's a palace of stories. Laaya Lobo explores this piece of history with her camera.


As a student of St. Xavier's College, for the last five years of my life, I've cooled down on a hot summer day with a glass of cold raspberry at Kayani's, spent time jamming with friends at Furtado's, and run across the street to get last-minute photocopies. While doing all this I have walked past this enormous building with no idea of the significance it holds.


Jer Mahal, over a century old, holds pockets of the past between its crumbling walls.

For the first time earlier this year, I really looked at this structure that I had seen innumerable times. I ventured under the ornate arch and into the narrow lane. I made my way up the old staircase which creaked with experience and memories. As I snooped around, camera in hand, I met Joe. Joe told me the stories of Kudds, low-budget housing for young Goans who had migrated to the city in search of work. Piled high against the wall were old trunks, some of their owners long dead. Joe proudly showed me around, narrating how the number of members had drastically dwindled. He showed me the terrace, from where one could see the ornate CSMT Station on the left, all the way to Antilia on the right.

Trunks or the coffins of lives?

Through a glass darkly

Even cemeteries have their expiry date

The inside and the outside in dialogue

Looking out at a metro