SPEND YOUR SUNDAY MORNINGS PLAYING HOUSIE AT BANDRA GYMKHANA
Although entry to the Bandra Gym is normally limited to members and their guests, Housie Sundays are an exception. For Rs. 30, you can enter the gym to play housie with a few hundred people. Bring your own pens.
Bandra Gymkhana, 42, St. Andrew's Road, D'Monte Park Road, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 2642 8512
It’s not often you get to be inside one of Mumbai’s old gymkhanas if you’re not a member but Housie Sundays at the Bandra Gym are a pretty good way in. What a resident calls “riding the Delorean”, it’s the perfect time-travel machine in terms of location, folk, and yes, activity. After all, who plays Bingo anymore?
Don’t ask the 200-odd people who show up at 10:15 a.m. that. Non-members pay Rs. 30 to enter and are given an entrance-ticket to hold on to. Walk into the badminton hall arranged with rows of chairs and ’80s music for ambience. Buy a clutch of five tickets at Rs. 10 each, coloured differently for each of the five games. The nice people behind the desk will give you instructions like, “Write your name and entrance-ticket number behind each of the tickets. It’s important! Don’t forget!”
Find a nice seat and take in the view. The wire cage filled with ivory numbers is at least a couple of decades old. The marquee style boards that light up with announced numbers and game points is quite new. Nelson Carvalho is something of a bingo celebrity and reads out the numbers at a few events around the city. He hosts the opening game.
Eyes down, the numbers are called out, and you have a chance to win the Jaldi Five, Top Line, Middle Line, Bottom Line for Rs. 300 each. Then there are two chances at a Full House at Rs. 800 and Rs. 400 respectively. At the end of each game, everyone’s tickets are collected and you’re up for a quick Lucky Draw which could win you Rs. 50.
We forgot to write our names, won a Middle Line and then got loudly tsk-ed at by everyone there when we were disqualified! Random strangers really want you to win, and it’s charming and hilarious.
Games start at 10:45 a.m. and end at 12:25 p.m. Bring your own pencils or felt pens. Do not forget to write your name at the back of the ticket!
Feature photograph by anghinet - stock.adobe.com