After a hiatus of a few months, Mumbai’s Taraporevala aquarium opened to the public. The aquarium may not be on the Mumbaikars’ radar, but if you have children, chances are that you must have taken them to the aquarium at least once. You may also remember your trips there since school days.
Cynical citizens have a tendency to scoff but it is an important and very visible part of Mumbai’s tourist calendar given its great location. Just opposite the sea at Chowpatty, where sunbeams dance on the waves, and the start of the long stretch that has the gymkhanas of Mumbai and possibly the priciest real estate in the world plus its art deco district, the aquarium has a very enviable location.
Plenty has been written about how the authorities must treat the marine life. A large part of the onus of keeping the aquarium well falls on the people, too. Discipline is key from smooth moving of buying tickets to actually seeing the fishes. We are notorious for breaking lines or not forming them at all. Then, earlier, despite warnings about not touching the tanks there were several smudges on them where people had put their fingers. Children were routinely put through the barricades or carried above on shoulders, leaning towards the tanks. People used to tap on the tanks, to call attention to the fish, Often entire families would hold up people standing behind them. Sometimes people would run across the aquarium floor trying to outdo each other in a race to different tanks.
Washrooms need to be properly used and have to be kept hygienic. Respect for others who will be using them after you is paramount. Litter is an absolute no-no. This is not just inside the aquarium but outside the precinct and around it too, where visitors have snacks and drinks. Stop spitting on the walls outside, it is a blot on the infrastructure. There is plenty of debate on high ticket prices and astonishing rates for photography inside. While that simmers, remember that a revamped aquarium is as much our responsibility as that of the authorities.
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