Mumbai Diary: Friday frolics

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

Horn is not OK, please!
The back of a truck is often a fascinating sight beneath the customary grime of the road, a plethora of slogans can be seen, many of them entertaining. The most common, of course, is “Horn OK Please” which can be seen on trucks, tempos, trailers and other multi-axles though no one quite knows how and when it came about, and what it is supposed to mean.

It encourages unnecessary honking, says the government
It encourages unnecessary honking, says the government

The state Transport Department, however, doesn’t think it’s funny. Yesterday, it banned this sign from being displayed on the backs of vehicles, as it promotes honking. The order says that there should not be any message next to a number plate and that it is wrongful under section 134 (1) of Motor Vehicles Act, 1989.

“It only promotes honking at any time which gives a wrong message,” said a Transport Department official. We say “Yay!” to that. (Now check the decibel levels of motorcycle horns, please sir — they are deafening!)
The department wants all vehicle owners who have displayed this message, to remove it immediately otherwise action shall be taken under the above section of the act.

OK Tata!

Labour of love
The big takeaway from today, Maharashtra Day or Labour Day, we think, is about instilling dignity of labour in kids. Use the day to teach them not to look down on workers (especially unskilled workers and blue collar workers) as happens often in this country but that every individual is worthy of respect, whatever one’s work profile.

Schoolchildren from RBK International Academy celebrate ‘International Labour Day’
Schoolchildren from RBK International Academy celebrate ‘International Labour Day’

So, a special doff of the hat to the students of the RBK International Academy (in Chembur) that marked ‘International Labour Day’ at an ‘Eiffel Tower’ constructed in Bandra-Kurla. They celebrated the day with labourers and kids cutting a cake weighing 10 kg. It was to foster a sense of respect in children about the incredible sweat the labourers put in.

We think the person-to-person interaction opened the windows of the mind of these kids and help them see the labourers in another light, besides also putting meaning into the ‘Labour Day’ name. What do they say about doing most of your learning outside the classroom?

Seeing is believing how he sells
He cannot see at all, but he is as sharp as a tack and sells newspapers with ease. Gajanan Kashinath Zogdekar (73), who is completely blind, has been selling newspapers in Prabhadevi for the last 57 years. He sits at the same spot, underneath a tree at Prabhadevi, a little away from Siddhivinayak Mandir amidst a cluster of small restaurants, chemists and stationery stores.

Gajanan K Zogdekar selling newspapers in Prabhadevi
Gajanan K Zogdekar selling newspapers in Prabhadevi

Zogdekar says, “I was born sighted but I always had weak eyesight. Then, years ago, my eyesight started fading till I lost sight completely about 20 years ago. Even then, Zogdekar continued stoically to sell newspapers. “I live in Prabhadevi. My brother helps me walk to the spot.

I actually reach here at 4am every day because I have to put supplements into newspapers,” he says, unerringly picking up the precise one. He says nobody has ever tried to cheat him all these years. “They cannot take away any paper without paying, I would know at once,” he says, sounding sharp.

Zogdekar has a message for those who keep changing currency and coins. “It becomes difficult for the blind. Barely have we got used to a certain shape and thickness of coin, than the bank goes and changes it. More consistency would help,” signs off this gutsy newspaper seller, a familiar face and presence in Prabhadevi, who never lets his handicap obstruct his work.

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