I have been a member of 2 local clubs – Matunga Gymkhana opp Podar College and Matunga Gujarati Club Ltd. near Aurora Cinema. Besides these I also am a member at Garware Club House (Wankhede Stadium) at Churchgate and Otters Club, Bandra.
What has amazed me is the fees that one needs to pay to become a member! Matunga Gujarati Club Ltd. is the at the lowest of the rung with memberships going to open at 0.3 million Rs. + 12.36% service Tax! Then comes Matunga Gymkhana which is currently at 1 million + 12.36% service Tax! Garware Club House – I do not know the present membership rate but should be at 1.5 million atleast + service Tax and followed by Otters Club at a whopping 5 million + service Tax!!!! I wonder what is the reason people are willing to pay top dollar to get into clubs? Is it because there is no open space? No common facilities for use too. Little space for parks or gardens.
When do I use these clubs?
- Matunga Gymkhana has the only swimming pool in our area and I use it every morning either for swimming or yoga. Since I go there so frequently I get to know of some other activity or the other like the Splash event coming up on Saturday so I am going there for the heck of it. Then we have Housie there on the 2nd Saturday of every month that Kavya enjoys. Plus the Diwali function over the past two years has been amazing with the live singers performing chartbusters of the days gone by. Must thank this one for this is where I learnt swimming at this age and so did Kavya. Used the gym before but now am totally drenched in the pool:-) Learnt yoga here too. Who would have thought that with my girth I could so Shirsasana.
- Matunga Gujarati Club doesn’t have a swimming pool. I was using their Gym once upon a time but since I became a member at Matunga Gymkhana, I have stopped going there. They have banquet halls so Kavya’s first birthday was celebrated there plus some other events too. Typical Gujarati catering and no liquor served here. The restaurant is meant for people who will wait for maybe 3 hours just to eat there and yet pay their bill too! I am not a frequenter there. Sparingly used but once their renovation plans are approved, you never know I might turn a new leaf:-)
- Garware Club House – A decent club which was recently renovated. Known for the cricket stadium on premise. As a child I used to go watch live matches there but these days TV does a better job of that so I don’t go there to watch matches. Occasional meeting in town or the dinner etc. happens there. They have the same 25 metre pool as all clubs but is much deeper than the one at Matunga Gymkhana.
- Otters Club – Now this is a club that people seem to give an arm and a leg to get it considering their membership fees! The club is awesome as it is jutting into the Arabian Sea. Amazing view, amazing breeze (at times), huge as in huge pool (even if it is 25 metres only but the L shaped pool has a deep end and is used for diving from 3 levels!). Nice restaurants, nice bar. They have awesome events too. Kavya loves their Library a lot there as she gets to draw and colour. As a child I remember my sister and me would go for the Xmas parties and while so far Kavya hasn’t been to the Xmas party, this year she will surely visit. The Club Day is also happening with all members coming together. There are Bollywood celebrities around so Kavya is naturally most tickled. All in all a fab place to be in. Have spent so many precious moments there with my better half, then with Kavya too there and with friends. So many Sunday evenings spent there with Parin and Namrata just sitting at the far end of the club touching the sea.
But I wonder if these memberships are sustainable at these rates? Rs. 5 million? I am sure someday all these memberships become transferable and tradeable. Would be a good retirement fund for me then as who know prices would have more than doubled by then:-) Wishful thinking but well not a remote possibility.
PS: The picture above is of the awesome pool at Otters Club taken thanks to Google Image search.