Mumbai Diary: Monday musings

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

'Insurance' with a twist
Among the many individualistic markings and brandings that we notice on our city’s vehicles, some are noteworthy just for their sheer insouciance.

Just in good fun, or a warning to the unwary? Pic/Chirag Waghela
Just in good fun, or a warning to the unwary? Pic/Chirag Waghela

One such instance was this motorcycle we spotted in the Western suburbs, sporting a bumper sticker reading “Insured By Mafia, You Hit Me — We Hit You.” The biker, noticing us snapping away, laughed and remarked, “Mast hai na?”

The Call of Science
When it is summer, it must be… the Nehru Centre. All ye sweet-cheeks geeks get a dash of Science at Mumbai’s leafy Nehru Centre which is making this a May with a difference thanks to a series of workshops for Secondary School students during the month.

From workshops on biodiversity, to Science Exploration, Nature Quest and Fun with Chemistry, these are welcome in a world where there is simply too much emphasis on superstition and mumbo-jumbo and not enough on Science. What really intrigues one though is a workshop called, ‘Origami through Mathematics’ which sounds different with a capital D.

So if multiplication is vexation, division is as bad, the rule of 3 perplexes you and fractions drive you mad, let Origami help you make the Mathematics experience fun. So, for those students who want some sssseriousnessness mixed with outdoorsy practical work this summer: Call: Manasi Anjarlekar -24964676 to 80 for more details.

And if Science sounds like something you do at school and not in the holidays, this sounds like some fun in the sun. Make the most of these workshops. After all, all work (shops) and no play makes Jack, or Jash a dull boy.

Shedding light on terror
We live in an age where terrorism throws its dark shadow across almost every country in the world today. From religious terror, to right wing ‘n’ left wing terror, today’s is a generation of security checks at mall gates, no liquids on planes, intelligence operations and terror drills.

Gary Lafree makes a point. Pic/Satyajit Desai
Gary Lafree makes a point. Pic/Satyajit Desai

US-based Gary Lafree, director of an institute on the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland was in the mid-day office recently, while on a trip to India. Lafree stated that, “The media is the oxygen for terrorism,” saying that the terrorists wanted visibility.

He pointed to the surge in kidnappings and hostage takings in India and the uptick in Maoist violence here. Lafree stated that in the end, “Terrorism too seeks legitimacy and needs supporters.” Lafree’s most telling point though was that the most effective way to foil terror plots, there has been a huge increase in foiled terror plots post 9/11 he claimed, is “ordinary police work.”

He explained, “You cannot replace ordinary, grassroots police work with anything for an effective counter-terrorism plan.” You need eyes and ears on the ground. Like so many things in life, in counter-terrorism too, the mundane is deceptively powerful and it is simplicity that is key.

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