Mumbai Diary: Friday frolics

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

Love is a four-legged word
FOR years, the usual prayer sessions at St Columba Church at CST have been carried on with series of loud barks in the background. However this doesn’t seem to disturb anybody because Hole has been a part of the church for the past six years and loves contributing for the prayer service.


Six-year-old Hole found his name after the church manager Lawrence Hardinge found him as a pup stuck in a rat hole. “We could hear a pup squeaking in our compound and found him sticking his head out of a rat hole. We chose to call him Hole and since then he’s been a big part of the church,” said Hardinge.

The church runs a semi-school within the compound specifically for street children and helps them with one meal as well as support in terms of study, and Hole is a major part of this study group as well. “Along with studies, we also try to teach children the importance of bring nice to stay dogs, instead of lighting crackers tied to their tails. We all share a deep bond,” he added.

Hope, Diesel and Hole with their humans
Hope, Diesel and Hole with their humans

Just a few kilometres from the church is a petrol pump, placed right next to Mantralaya, where the staff is fond of their adopted dog Diesel. On a lazy afternoon, ask the staff where their favorite dog is and they point to the office. “It’s too hot for him outside. He’s chilling in our air-conditioned office,” said Raju Prasad, one of the staff members.

Spotted by the petrol pump owner at a beach, Diesel was happily adopted by the owner and brought to his home four years ago. “He’s a brilliant dog and has now become a very important part of our lives,” added Prasad. Over the years, apart from the staff working at the petrol pump, regular customers too have grown fond of this beautiful dog.

Vanessa Laine, 42, moved to Mumbai four years ago with her husband. A French citizen, she worked as a dog trainer back home and after moving to Mumbai, she joined an association in the city that looks after animals. It’s at her new job that she met Asha (Hope).

“She was found in the slums of Worli with a serious wound on her face, which took away almost half of her face. She lost an eye as well as half of her nose and we were taking care of her after she was rescued,” said Laine. All it took was a few hours with this happy, bubbly dog and within no time Vanessa decided to adopt the dog.

“I realised many people would not adopt her because of her disfigured face but she is such a delight to be around, I didn’t hesitate before adopting her,” she said. These and many other similar instances highlight not only the plight of stray dogs in the city but also the warmer side of Mumbaikars.

For all the insensitivity towards animals, a large number of people across Mumbai show that the city does have a heart. “Yes, we regularly come across stray animals who have been mutilated by kids or others during Holi or Diwali, but many people are also coming forward to adopt these four-legged creatures.

This makes our jobs easier,” said Abodh Aras, CeO of Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD). He added that a number of people have been very supportive of this cause and gone out of their way to make sure that animals are not ill-treated.  “Sometimes the good Samaritan can also be a street vendor sharing his lunch with a stray dog. The effort makes a huge difference,” said Aras.

Row and behold!
Squeeze, please that seems to be the gentle request to guests in the front row at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015 at Palladium Hotel. Well, this happened on Thursday whenever a celebrity guest walked in just before the show could begin.

From designer Soumitra. Pic/Satyajit Desai
From designer Soumitra. Pic/Satyajit Desai

Nice to note that everyone readily obliged, slowly sliding down the line like a Mexican wave in slow motion, though of a different kind. First there was Sonali Bendre who got the corner seat and then sat glued to her place, appreciating the action unfolding down the ramp while chewing gum endlessly. And it happened at another show, this time with Vivek Oberoi walking in at near-showtime.

And Thursday, being Indian Handloom & Textile Day, you saw most guests taking that theme seriously, all dressed up in their ethnic and Indian best. even the edelman PR team got into the act. Western wear was there but it was few and far between. Wonder weaves from states all over India were seen and it sure gave you a nice patriotic feel.

Of course, while happy hues were on view on the catwalk, off-the-ramp one spotted splashes of various shades that stood out in the crowd. Besides the colours of the clothes of the women and men, there were other glimpses that shone on.

Particularly pronounced was the checked shoes worn by Sandip Soparrkar. It looked like a jigsaw puzzle or a Rubik’s Cube spread out. Also catching your eye were the sky-blue socks peeping out from under the grey suit worn by Saket Dhanker. As they say, fashion weeks are full of colourful characters.

- Marcellus Baptista

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