Mumbai Diary: Friday frolics

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

Rah-Rah Rahane!
As Ajinkya Rahane notched up a half-century in the a practice match at Glenelg Oval last week, 70-year-old Louise gave him a healthy round of applause from the grandstand. As the players broke for lunch, mid-day asked Louise if she would be attending the first Test at the Adelaide Oval from December 9 to 13.

Louise and the heart-warming card she made for Rahane
Louise and the heart-warming card she made for Rahane

“No, I would love to, but to be honest I don’t know how to book tickets online. I’m not sure how else you can purchase them and with my age, I can’t really stand in a queue for a long time. If I got a ticket I would like to go because it will be such an emotional and landmark day of Test cricket.”

Louise
Louise

On Day 1, Louise was delighted to receive a phone call advising her that a ticket was organised for her. It had been done by none other than Ajinkya Rahane, the batsman she had applauded. At the end of Day 1 she said she was “delighted to be at the ground to witness the tributes for Phillip Hughes”.

On the morning of Day 2, Louise, overwhelmed by Rahane’s generosity, brought along a card with a special message for the Indian batsman. “Thank you Ajinkya for your generosity. Your kindness enabled me to be present at a memorable day’s play. Wishing you every success in your batting career. Sincerely, Louise (Australian Cricket Fan).”

Wanted KYC, dead or alive
There is this real-life story of a man whom the Indian government had declared dead at the behest of his uncle who wanted his ancestral land. The poor man spent the next 19 years trying to prove he is alive and even stood for elections against ex-PM Rajiv Gandhi to prove he is alive.

His struggle, which began in 1975, finally ended in 1994 when he got his death certificate cancelled. No such luck for a Parsi gentleman from Thane, whose daughter had the exact opposite experience from a leading public sector bank.

The gentleman in question is no longer alive, and the bank acknowledged this in a recent communication to his address. However, in what can only be termed as bureaucratic enthusiasm, the bank also requested him to send his documents for the Know Your Customer (KYC) process.

The bemused daughter received the letter and is wondering what to do, especially since the bank acknowledges that her father is no longer alive.

True meaning of friendship
Among the many messages going around on chat groups, one caught our eye. Mentioning the horror of the Nirbhaya rape-murder case in New Delhi two years ago, in which a young woman and her male friend were brutally attacked, the message reminds us that the young man, who could have fled the murderous attackers but instead strove to save his friend, himself sustaining severe injuries.

Besides protest marches, there are other ways to hail the bravery of the survivors
Besides protest marches, there are other ways to hail the bravery of the survivors

“When this boy is there somewhere in anonymity, why should we Indians mark Friendship Day on August 3 to copy America?” asks the message. “We should celebrate Friendship Day on December 16 to salute the spirit of the boy who proved what friendship means. Let December 16 be the official Friendship Day in India!”

We don’t mind at all. Two years on, the attack on the duo in a moving bus, on the busy Delhi roads, still sends chills down our spine. We do need to salute the young man, and we don’t need to know his name in order to do it. Like the Unknown Soldier, he can be the Unknown Friend, saluted by all and hailed for his bravery.

Something black in the lentil curry?
Now that MasterChef US is over, viewers who revel in the vicarious delight of seeing scrumptious food being made will be looking forward to the next edition of MasterChef Australia, which many feel is a better show.

But we just hope they beef up their subtitling. In the last edition, we read “mascarado” for muscovado, “fish and curry” for fish-head curry, “umptuousness” for unctuousness and “carapus” for carapace. We need to do Gary, George and Matt proper justice.

Where the crowds are...
Be it any railway line in the city Harbour, Central or Western space is always an issue. Both inside as well as outside a local train. However, things are worse inside.

Who doesn’t like an empty local train in Mumbai? Pic/Shakti Shetty
Who doesn’t like an empty local train in Mumbai? Pic/Shakti Shetty

Most of the time what happens is commuters who manage to get in first crowd up the aisle even if they have several stations to go before they alight. It’s more about attitude than the fear of missing their respective stations.

Unfortunately they only end up choking the narrow passages, giving the impression that the train is overcrowded, when in reality there is ample space to stand in the middle of the compartment. The only problem is it’s very difficult to get through, as the about-to-get-down-from-train crowd only grows thicker with every passing station.

In an ideal world, these people would realise that they are only creating trouble for those who not only want in but also may have a longer distance to go. Turns out we don’t live in an ideal world, and some luxurious space is always going to stay vacant in the middle until a brave soul fights his way in.

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