South Mumbai is home to some of the most expensive real estate on the planet.
Ranking in the same league as London and New York, Mumbai’s real estate is affordable to perhaps just one per cent of one per centres. This is especially true of Kemps Corner, the tony neighbourhood in which the Grand Paradi Towers stand.
Grand Paradi Towers are three sea-facing buildings, 28 stories high.
Built in 1975, the towers are home to some of the richest business families and diamond merchants in the country.
The towers offer some spectacular views of the city laid before its feet on one side and the majestic Arabian Sea on the other. However, over the years, the towers have earned a reputation of being haunted or, in any case, jinxed due to a spate of death by suicides that have given the towers this unfortunate tag.
Several of these deaths can be traced back to a period between the late 90s and early- to mid-noughts. The earliest of these can be tracked back to the Dalal family, three generations of which reportedly jumped to death from their 8th floor balcony. These were the suicides that brought Grand Paradi into the media limelight even as rumours started circulating about the property being haunted.
It began on June 14, 1998. A senior couple – Tara and Vasadeo Dalal – that lived on the 8h floor of Grand Paradi Towers jumped to death leaving behind a note accusing their daughter-in-law and son, Sonal and Balkrishna of driving them to take this drastic step.
These two suicides were just the beginning of horrors for the Dalal family.
As is procedure, Sonal and Balkrishna were booked for abetment of suicide and the case dragged on in the courts. Nearly 7 years later, on the day when the courts were supposed to hand out the verdict, the younger Dalal couple was nowhere to be seen. As it turned out they followed in the footsteps of Tara and Vasadeo Dalal and jumped off the same balcony ending their lives, reportedly afraid that they’d be convicted.
Sonal and Balkrishna also took with them their 19-year-old daughter Pooja who reportedly joined them as they jumped off the balcony. This is how, in just 7 years, three generations of the Dalal family were wiped off.
During this period, there were other deaths by suicide and attempts to die by suicide too.
For instance there was the story of a domestic help who threatened to jump off the parapet of a 19th floor apartment after he was accused of stealing by his employers.
Another resident of Grand Paradi, supposedly an employee of a brewery company also jumped to his death sometime in 2000, just two years after the senior Dalals ended their lives.
In 2006, a year after the younger Dalal couple died by suicide along with their daughter, one Cherisma Kadakia also followed suit, supposedly after her father refused to let her marry the man of her choice. It is, however, to be noted that Kadakia didn’t jump off the balcony of her family apartment in Grand Paradi but rather that of Navyug Sagar where her boyfriend lived. However the suicide triggered memories of the Dalal family incident.
According to some reports there have been as many as 20 deaths by suicide that have taken place from the Grand Paradi apartments. And this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the residents themselves. A counselling and suicide prevention camp was organised and divine intervention sought through a pooja that several residents apparently attended.
While the logical explanation for these deaths can simply be put down to poor mental health and lack of awareness about mental health issues at the time, the unusually high number of deaths has raised many eyebrows. Some have even suggested that the apartment towers were built on top of burial grounds with the bodies being moved elsewhere as the majestic towers came up. There are stories about of people hearing mysterious voices egging them to kill themselves.
Since then there has not been any major reports of suicides or unnatural deaths from Grand Paradi, but the legend endures.