Mumbai Diary: Friday frolics

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

A very specific conductor
Travelling by a BEST bus the other day, we were just musing on how the trusty red denizens of the road are one’s best bet to navigate the flooded city (except when the odd bus breaks down), when we heard the conductor walking up the aisle calling, “Bus madhye ticket raahile konaache? Bus madhye? (Anyone in the bus left without a ticket?)” And he kept repeating the emphasis, “Bus madhye (in the bus)”.

It struck us that this seemed a redundant requirement, considering that only people inside the bus would need a ticket. But the conductor looked so solemn that we did not have the heart to question him about his choice of phrase. And he continued to go about his job, calling out periodically and making us smile amidst the puddles.

One for name nerds
India can be extremely confusing. Not just for “foreigners”, but for us fellow Indians itself. Travel to the next state and you are left high and dry if you don’t know the language.

When it comes to Indian names, too, the seemingly endless plethora of names and name combinations is enough to boggle any mind. Maybe that’s why we don’t think about it all that much. Someone has, though. Not just thought about it, but has actually undertaken a study on Indian names.

And what’s more, this brave gentleman has devised a name-matching algorithm for a “Probabilistic inference of religious community from Indian names”. If you are also feeling brave, you can dive into the universe of political anthropologist Raphael Susewind at and well, good luck. It’s seriously nerdy.

When kindness went uncredited
We were so touched by the WhatsApp forward from a neighbour, that we included it on this page yesterday. It was about being kind when it pours, but while the message was heart-warming, unfortunately it arrived minus the credit of its originator Anuradha Ganapathy.

Ganapathy, who runs a personal blog called Sunday Afternoon Random Thoughts (A.R.Ts), had posted the ‘Ten Simple Things’ message on her Facebook page as well. And, as she discovered, it caught everyone’s imagination and quickly went viral. Which is all very well, but we do wish that the people who forwarded it had included her name.

Because it’s an excellent set of suggestions. We tend to think of ourselves and our families first, then the wider circle of friends and colleagues… but we are part of the larger ecosystem that includes domestic helpers, delivery boys and everyone else whom we depend on. Full marks to Ganapathy for the post. And for the rest of you, please give credit to the author when next you forward something!

It's telling
A colleague walked up to the TV set and asked aloud, “What’s breaking?” From the next desk came the wisecrack: “Definitely not Arnab’s voice!”

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