Navrangpura Bus Terminal (Charles Correa Now)
Ahmedabad, India

Built in 1962-63, the Navrangpura bus terminal is still used by daily commuters, people in transit and people simply wishing to pass the time. Nondita Correa told me that Charles hoped it would become a prototype for other bus stations.

The ground plus one unit has access roads on two sides, one of which is still used by busses. The other side is no longer accessible to vehicles. The first floor is occupied by the Municipal Council, which has stored documents and archives there, so it is no longer accessible to the public. The canteen and ticket hall on the ground floor are also locked now.

Surrounded by high-rise structures on all sides, the bus terminal is now the only open space in the area. It was once visible from ongoing trains, as Nondita Correa explained in the interview, "Charles loved it, when we would take the Gujarat mail (train) overnight, he would wake me up early and tell me to go look through the window. I think the train came at 6 in the morning, and he woke me up at 5.45 for that fleeting moment. At that time, you could see (the bus terminal) from the train window; I don't know if it's visible now."

While visiting the site, I met Vijay, a 10-year-old boy who sells bird feed out of a peddlers cart. Adjacent to the bus stop is a fenced area designated for pigeons. Every morning, people buy a mix of different bird feed to feed the pigeons. Some also buy milk to feed the dogs living in the bus stand. "I was born in this bus stand," Vijay told me, pointing towards the locked canteen room. "Then they closed it, and then we moved out to a village nearby," he said. Vijay took me around, showing things he felt were essential features of the building. He took me to the backside of the bus stand and pointed towards the ground, "In the last monsoon, this plaster fell off", showing a chunk of cement debris that fell from the cantilever. Then he pointed towards the middle of the building, "that is where people go to urinate".

Vijay later introduced me to Arun, a young man in his 20s, who used to run a tea stall in the bus stand, but now owns his own stall some blocks away. He wanted a photo with the bus stand for his Whatsapp status.

I met people who regularly visit the building just to sit there the whole day, read the newspaper, watch the commuters and chit-chat with others like them. One man, who appeared to be in his 60's, told me that he had been visiting the bus stand since he was a child. "It's been here forever," he said. I met a family who lives in a makeshift house in the bus terminal. When I introduced myself, the mother expressed worry that they were going to destroy the building. She runs a tobacco shop at the edge of the bus stand, and her husband drives an auto-rickshaw which he parks at the bus stand at night.

The bus stand remains a good spot for the people doing evening walks, and I saw many people pass by it. When I posted a photo of the station on Instagram, a friend replied, "U r in Ahmedabad? I often come to this bus stand in the night for maska [a local bun served with butter]."

-Nipun Prabhakar, 2021

Navrangpura Rd, Swastik Society, Navrangpura, , Gujarat 380009, Ahmedabad, India
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