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6 hours for 1 form

Rinkita Gurav waited in line for over six hours to get a form for the renovated pools at Shivaji Park; though the crowds were thinner in comparison to Day 1, mismanagement reigned supreme. Here's her story...

On day 2 of the form-selling process for membership to the refurbished pool complex at Shivaji Park in Dadar, I decided to join thousands of aspiring members, and get hold of a form. Little did I know that a gruelling wait was in store for me, before I could lay my hands on the coveted prize.


I did it: Exhausted but exultant, Rinkita proudly displays the form that
she got after her ordeal. pIC/SATYAJIT DESAI


Though the crowds had dwindled, mismanagement continued -- while authorities promised to issue coupons for forms at 6 am, the first one was given out at 10 am. Many applicants assumed that the coupons were all that they required, and left without collecting the forms. It appeared that the authorities also ran short of coupons, and after a while had to hand out forms directly.

I spoke to Heena Khan, a resident of Bandra, who was first one in the line. She said, "My uncle was here since 3.45 am, and I reached by 6 am. I'm desperate to become a member."

Anthony Chettiar, a Mahim resident who was second in the queue, said, "The token system is a complete failure."

I caught Dr Usha Deshpande, a resident of Matunga catching a nap while leaning uncomfortably against a bike parked on the pavement. She said, "I was under the impression that I could leave as soon as I received the token, but I am told now that I have to wait for the form."

End in sight
After a five hour-long wait in the queue, I reached the gate at 11 am. At around 12, I caught my first glimpse of the pristine pools. The glistened in the shade, and seemed to have a soothing effect on all the tired, yawning people who had queued up.

Finally, after another half hour of waiting, I finally reached the counter, and got my hands on that coveted piece of paper that would give me the right to take long, leisurely dips in one of the pools. All that remained to be done was fill in the details, attach documents and submit the membership fees. The thought of diving in made my exhausting ordeal worthwhile.

Official speak
Milind Shahani, manager of the swimming pool said, "The token system failed us. Many misunderstood that the token was all that they needed."

Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Gardens and Security), S Karavande, "All the 10,000 forms were sold out in just two days. We handed two forms per person. We will be extending the submission period, for the convenience of people."










Pool of patience: Applicants while away time as they wait for the
coveted membership forms  at Shivaji Park, Dadar, where the pools are
located. While some snooze, others struggle to keep themselves awake.
Pics/Satyajit Desai

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