Mumbai Diary: Friday frolics

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Missing the fishwalla
One is used to seeing Facebook posts about a departed public figure, but we are touched that there is a post and a large number of people commiserating on the demise of not a celebrity but a city fishmonger. Bishu Machhwala, as he was called, held sway in the Prabhadevi market and passed away on Sunday due to a heart attack.

Everyone feels the cold, but not everyone has a blanket to ward it off. Pic/Pallavi Shastry
Everyone feels the cold, but not everyone has a blanket to ward it off. Pic/Pallavi Shastry

The post by journalist Indrajit Gupta says, “No one can possibly take his place. He was the man who ensured that many Bengali households in the city got uninterrupted access to the very best illish and galda chingri. He loved his patrons and they loved his reassuring presence. RIP.”

Many comments follow expressing regret, and it is truly moving that people remember the man more than his wares. In today’s world of fleeting references and ephemeral mentions, to leave such an enduring memory speaks volumes for Bishu’s character.

Extra care
Street dogs’ luck is limited to the garbage bin from which they source their food. On top of that, the weather remains indifferent to their plight.

Come to think of which, dogs aren’t fond of summer a season perennially associated with Mumbai that compels them to stay hidden for a major part of the day followed by drenching rain and a winter that seldom makes its presence felt.

Speaking of winter, only the early morning hours can be harsh on the four-legged ones just like us, the two-legged ones. However, we let them fend for themselves because they are survivors and know how to manage.

But we were surprised when this picture reached us, highlighting a stray dog in Gurgaon where the temperature can dip to below 10 degrees at night. Someone had helped the canine beat the cold with some warm clothing. We don’t see that happening in our city, just like we don’t expect ‘real’ winter to happen.

TV can be good, too
Television gets some bad rep, but we often forget that it is only a medium, and not the message. This is the philosophy driving the United Nations’ observance of today as World Television Day, “in recognition of the increasing impact television has on decision-making by bringing world attention to conflicts and threats to peace and security”.

The UN goes on to specify that it is not so much a celebration of the tool, but of its philosophy: “Television represents a symbol for communication and globalisation in the contemporary world.”

Saying it with different strokes
All is not running smoothly with the engineers of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's engineers, who are disgruntled with a new circular stating that they have to prove their eligibility for promotion by clearing an examination.

To persuade them to see the positive aspects of taking the exam, the BMC has gone the pictorial route it has devised a cartoon put up in the BMC building.

It shows a reluctant engineer asking, “When I am perfectly healthy (ie, qualified), why do I need an injection (the exam)?” And the doctor (the BMC) is shown replying, “This injection will make you even more qualified!” We hope it works!

Kader school of coaching
Racing aficionados with salt ‘n’ pepper hair (probably more salt than pepper) may remember champion jockey Aslam Kader blazing across the Mahalaxmi green on his steed. Then, he was gone, post retirement, into the greener environs of Bangalore. Aslam has now thundered back to Mumbai, as the club has hired his services to train young apprentice jockeys, beginning December 1.

Aslam Kader (r) with Adil Gandhy
Aslam Kader (r) with Adil Gandhy

Aslam will be taking charge of the nine current licenced apprentices, as well as 10 aspiring youngsters who are waiting in line to get licenced. The club hopes that Aslam, winner of 1,700 races and 80 Classics in his sterling career, can be instrumental in turning out top-class youngsters who will bloom into talented jockeys like him, says The Apprentice School chairman Adil Gandhy.

Meanwhile, we must tell the apprentices that riding skills are tangible, what they must imbibe from Aslam Kader is his never-say-die spirit too. One thing the wiry Kader will never be able to pass on, however, is his ability to stay at the same weight. He had once said in his riding career, “I do not put on weight, I stay at the same weight.” Jealous? That’s genetics, dahling. Welcome, Mr Kader. Glad to see you back at the Mahalaxmi.

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