Mumbai Dairy Page: Saturday scene

Careful with those trees, BMC!
WE ARE not sure why the civic authorities are trimming the branches of city trees in the middle of summer, when we need all the shade we can get, but what is clear is that the trimming is affecting the city’s bird population. We have already heard about the plight of egrets and other birds, some of whom were rescued by a wildlife protection organisation, in the aftermath of a trimming spree; now it is the turn of the humble crow. A family of Corvus splendens had set up house in a small tree in the Gamdevi area, outside the residence of one of our colleagues. Eggs were laid and hatched, but immediately after that, the trees along the lane were trimmed. With the branches protecting it gone, the nest was exposed.

EMPTY NEST: The baby crows were gone too soon from their exposed home after this tree was trimmed
EMPTY NEST: The baby crows were gone too soon from their exposed home after this tree was trimmed

A day later our colleague noticed that the nest was empty and the parent crows were flying around forlornly, cawing occasionally and pecking at the nest. We think a predator took advantage of the lack of branch and leaf cover, to snatch the tasty little hatchlings. That’s nature, after all, red in tooth and claw. But there’s no reason we humans should lend it a brutal hand!

In this case it was not an endangered species — in fact the house crow is of least concern on the conservation scale — but it is part of our natural world and deserves equal care. In view of such incidents, the municipality should tie up with conservation organisations to ensure that birds are not disturbed or harmed by tree trimming.

Bag with a message
WE’VE heard all too often about people picking up the wrong piece of luggage from airport baggage carousels. And cases of missing bags are also common. Well, the authorities have come up with an attention-getting solution to the problem. Along with regular luggage on the carousels in the arrival hall at the city’s domestic airport, one will find an occasional bag that bears the message: “Please ensure you pick up your own bag.” The dummy bag has been used before, but with complaints of missing luggage increasing, the authorities say they are stepping up its placement. With as many as 25 complaints in a day sometimes, it makes sense to remind passengers that they need to look twice before picking up a bag.

Irony at work
HE WAS in his 70s, the oldest laundryman in the neighbourhood. Last week, he literally dropped dead while ironing a shirt, and was found sprawled across the ironing table. As a sign of respect, all the other — and younger — laundrymen decided to take the day off. That’s working-class solidarity for you. Shutters came down and his departure was sincerely mourned. Along with his colleagues, we are guessing one more person mourned too — the man whose shirt was burnt in the sad event.

From state to screen
WHILE Dadasaheb Phalke is celebrated as being the father of Indian cinema, the music that makes it what it is also has a goodly Marathi quotient in it. In fact Hindi film music has seen the contribution of more than 75 Marathi music directors, says the Asmant Foundation, which is organising an event to showcase this, at 7.30pm today at Savarkar Auditorium in Dadar. Besides singers presenting songs by directors such as C Ramchandra, Vasant Desai, Sudhir Phadke, Snehal Bhatkar and Hridaynath Mangeshkar, the event will include anecdotes from their lives and other information. Sounds like a bridge between Hindi and Marathi, there.

A movie with the Prez
WITH all the brouhaha about elections and the new government, one would think that President Pranab Mukherjee would have not even a minute to spare.

IS THAT REALLY ABOUT ME? At left, President Pranab Mukherjee (r ) watching the movie, with Sushilkumar Shinde, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. Mumbai producers (from l) Manjiri Hete, Prasad Mahadkar and Dr Shailaja Gaikwad are in the picture. At right, a still from the movie

Nice to know, then, that even presidents do things just like us ordinary mortals — like watching movies. The President along with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde was at a special screening organised at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi for the Marathi movie Doosri Goshta (The Second Story). The movie has been produced by Mumbai trio Manjiri Hete, Prasad Mahadkar and Dr Shailaja Gaikwad of Jeevangani Films. It is a movie based on Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s life, on a child born in poverty who scripts his own destiny. It was natural perhaps that Shinde had expressed a desire to watch it. Said Shinde post the movie, "While the film may be analogous to my journey in life, its ending, I believe, is very important as it sends out a very encouraging message to every young person.” Director Chandrakant Kulkarni was also at the special screening along with some from the star cast. The Marathi movie had English sub-titles. Well, a special screening at Rashtrapati Bhavan would surely be different from regular movie screenings; one does not know, for instance, if the president and home minister munched on popcorn or ice cream, regular movie ish-tyle. However, it is good to know that those in the seat of power do things like all of us, once in a while.

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