Mumbai Diary: Monday musings

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

Sizzling, scorching... and stunning
This summer has been one to remember, primarily for the lives claimed by the sheer heat. Urban and rural denizens alike have withered under the relentless sun, whose effect is felt even through the night as increasing concrete and cooling appliances give off heat.

A Gulmohar (Delonix regia) tree, ablaze with colour, at Wadala. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
A Gulmohar (Delonix regia) tree, ablaze with colour, at Wadala. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Of course, rain made an appearance yesterday but given that the El Nino effect is expected, we may have more hot days in store for us. This year’s summer has been notable for one more thing, however. At least in our city, its many flowering trees have practically burst forth with blossoms.

Be it the regular Gulmohar and Amaltas (Indian laburnum) trees, or the smaller Ratnagandhi (Caesalpinia lutea) and Mussanda (Mussaenda erythrophylla), the blooms this year are thicker on the branch, more profuse, and simply ambush the eye with colour.

Giving rein to our fancy, we like to imagine that the flowers are calling out, “Look at us, how beautiful we make your world. Do you really want to destroy it? Don’t you want to make it a better place?” The trees certainly bear a message for us. Are we listening?

Monkey business in Malad
Residents of Bhandarwada in Malad west are troubled by the antics of a couple of monkeys in the area since Thursday morning. Resident Abhishek Bind said the monkeys have been jumping around the trees in the garden of a nearby school, which is shut for vacations.

Monkeys have troubled residents of other areas too. Representational pic
Monkeys have troubled residents of other areas too. Representational pic

The monkeys have not entered any apartments, but have been seen sitting on parked two-wheelers. The residents have noticed that the monkeys have threads and chains tied around their necks, and feel that they probably belong to madaris (street performers) and have been let go due to age.

Milind Pitale, an idol artist who owns a shop in the area, remarked that madaris are also known to dump monkeys after increasing complaints from animal activists. The trouble is that animal rescuers don’t take monkeys away unless they pose a threat to people.

“After refusal by three others, the NGO SARRP finally agreed to help,” said Bind. “When the volunteers arrived they took a look at the monkeys but did not catch them as they said that as per the rule they cannot catch or trap monkeys as long as they are not reported harming or attacking someone,” Bind added.

Santosh Shinde, President of SARRP, said feeding the animal can add to the problem by encouraging it to stay in the area. “Usually monkeys move around. However, if residents feed them then they tend to stay on. Plus, the depletion of trees in and around the National Park is also causing the monkeys to venture out in the city in search of greenery,” he said.

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