Mumbai Diary: Friday frolics

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

Tree art, what next?
With tree art taking off at Shivaji Park, this dead tree has been brought alive by artists (it is located near the Meenatai statue at the Park). We wonder if we will see other firsts from the nursery of Indian cricket.

At Shivaji Park as art gets a new gallery. Pic/Shadab Khan
At Shivaji Park as art gets a new gallery. Pic/Shadab Khan

Of late, there have been efforts to spruce up the iconic ground. Boards came up to mark the perimeter of the park, and then there were statues placed around the park. Nets were also placed around the periphery so that walkers are not hit by cricket balls.

The Dino Morea fitness station came up and today, we see that tree art at the park is getting a lot of eyeballs. Well, as the park transforms in different ways, SP or Shivaji Park regulars seem amused and excited by the changes at their favourite hunting ground.

Humour in uniform*
One would not expect the Indian Army to be a fun, cool bunch of guys - or would one? We think they rock, but that's us. However, they not only are fun and cool, they are also up on memes and their correct usage, as our lawyer friend Samarth Moray discovered.

The scene from 300 which is now famously much-parodied
The scene from 300 which is now famously much-parodied

While visiting parts northern, Moray passed an army camp in Himachal Pradesh and spotted the notice in front. Warning trespassers and asking visitors to show proof of identity, the notice reproduces the well-known meme “This is Sparta”, including the famous kick drawing. For pop culture and film buffs, this is nothing new, but it is tres unusual to find it being used by the army.

The notice at the army camp in Himachal Pradesh. PIC/SAMARTH MORAY
The notice at the army camp in Himachal Pradesh. PIC/SAMARTH MORAY

“This is Sparta!” is a catchphrase usually used in images that parody the scene from the film 300 (a fictionalised retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae) where the main protagonist Leonidas, King of Sparta, declines peace with the Persians by shouting at the Persian Messenger “This is Sparta!” and kicking him into a large well.

* With a nod to the Reader’s Digest, as we could not resist nicking their title for army jokes and anecdotes.

India hockey stars feature in Stick Cricket-2
Video games are known to feature some of the world’s top sports stars, with most game designers paying famous players to use their names. However, one wouldn’t have expected India’s not-so-famous hockey stars to be part of the electronic gaming scenario.

A screenshot of the Stick Cricket-2 videogame with some India hockey players’ names
A screenshot of the Stick Cricket-2 videogame with some India hockey players’ names

But that’s exactly what Stick Cricket-2, one of the free games available to download on Play Store, has done. The game has half the Indian hockey side forming one of its teams (“Karnataka”), albeit with slightly altered names.

India striker Danish Mujtaba is a medium pacer referred to as Dinash Mujtaba, while another forward Nitin Thimmaiah is a fast bowler called Nitna Thimmaiah. Then, India hockey captain Sardar Singh forms the middle-order along with Mumbai-based forward Yuvraj Walmiki.

Their names though are changed to Satbir Singh and Yuvraj Valmaki. Another hardworking midfielder Shashi Topno also features in the game simply as S Topno, while Coorg lad Pradhan Somanna is the last man in the line-up and he’s called Pramnah Somanna.

Now the world’s top stars command hefty royalty money from game manufacturers, so one wonders if India’s lowly-paid hockey stars will earn a share of the revenue in this case. But then, technically speaking, the hockey stars’ full (and appropriate) names haven’t been used here.

Talk on, Doc
Holding forth is not the sole privilege of television anchors; pathologist Dr Ajay Shesh is currently undertaking a Guinness Book attempt for the longest motivational speech (60 hours) at a city hotel. He is due to conclude at 8pm today; we hope he gets there!

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