JJ Rowe Diary: 9 Mar 1889


Joseph describes his young son’s joyful reaction to seeing goats. Joseph and Pollie explore the Bombay (Mumbai) bazaar, and are impressed by its size and the variety of goods available for purchase.

WARNING: This is a transcription of an historical document. Some of the diary entries contain offensive language and stereotypes that must be understood in the context of the times. Such language and stereotypes are not acceptable today and are not condoned by the author of this blog.

The Diary Entry

9.3.89 Saturday

Arose about 6 AM & went to roll call at 7 Am & then had breakfast off fried Steak & onions. Had a brown stew for dinner. Had tomatoes Cauliflower carrots, onions, potatoes.

There are any amount of goats come in our tent, eating up all odds & ends. I was sitting with baby on my knee & a goat came in & I peeled a Parnarner & gave it the husks, quite close to baby. You should have seen the little fellow laugh.

When landed at Sassoon Dock & were sitting in the Shed waiting for tea a little black boy came & sit beside Pollie & oh how baby did stare for a second or two & then he laughed.

About 430 pm Sergt & Mrs Grundy, Pollie & myself went to the bazaar in Bombay about 5 or 6 miles from here. We went & came back by train. It was 2 Anna each, each way.

The bazaar is not but shops of all description & everything for sale you cane mention or dream of. I never saw such a lot of shop so close together before.

Going round a corner in the bazaar we meet a brass band in a smart uniform & following it was a carriage with some big nob dress up magnificent & the gold about him how it did glitter. With two or three wives in the carriage with him & a troop of followers were behind the carriage carrying all kind of things. One had at large pot full of fire burning incense & it did cast out such a fragrant smell.

Their a tremendous lot of religions or castes as they call them. If they break them caste they have to pay so many rupees to redeem it again. We went to a money changers, as I wanted to change some English Gold for Indian money & the man would not take it from me with his naked hand as it would break his caste if he took anything from the hand of such Infidels as us. So he laid a piece of sack on his hand & I dropped it into it he would only give 14 rupees 8 Anna for English Gold. Then I would not let him have it but went a little further down the bazaar to another & he would only give the same but he was not so particular so I let him have it. We lose by English Gold here in exchanging it for the Indian money.

Then we bought some cups & sauce’s, common one’s to use here as ours are in the big box & the two which we left out for use on board Ship one got broke & the other got lost. We gave 3 Annas each for them & thought them cheap for crockery ware is very dear here.

Then we went to the market, it is the finest that ever I saw. Everything you can mention. We bought two large cocoa nuts for 1 Anna each, turnips 1 Anna each, a jar of preserve Ginger which Pollie took a fancy too 1 Rupee 4 Anna, 1 ½ Dozen of  Parnarners for 2 Anna, a box of Glycerine Soap with three cakes in for 4 Anna & 4 bunches of onions for 2 pie & last not least 4 bunch of  water cresses for 1 Anna.

And after we got out the train on our way back to camp, we call in another shop & bought a big fan for two Anna & a nice light fawn coloured helmet for Pollie. The women here wear helmet as well as the men.

I have not mentioned that I am Served out, with a much larger white helmet & two strips of white muslin to wear round it, it is about 1 foot wide & about 18 or 20 feet long & is worn round the helmet about were your temples are in the helmet, very neatly folded, the proper name for it is puggaree. We are allowed to wear caps here after 4.30 pm & the evenings are nice & cool.

(We had a coolie which conducted us all over the bazaar & market & carried our baskets for us. We gave him two Annas each after he had carried our baskets to the tram).

We got back to Camp about 10 pm. The Sergt Major & wife & children of the Artillery, left this morning about 11 A.m. so there is only two families of us in the tent now & we have each one child.

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