Mumbai Diary: Monday musings

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

Let's year it for... Dahatonde
It is that time of the year when hardcore cricket lovers in India are busy relishing their copy of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

Prakash Dahatonde with Wisdens. Pic/Atul Kamble
Prakash Dahatonde with Wisdens. Pic/Atul Kamble

For Prakash Dahatonde, a 55-year-old statistician from Bhandup, it’s a time to be proud as well. For, he has been seeing his name in the Bible of cricket below the ‘List of Contributors’ from the 1996 edition. And save two editions which did not have his name through oversight, he has made it in every edition since that year.

Dahatonde ‘contributes’ to Wisden in the Chronicle of the Year section which has snippets of interesting cricketing feats and occurrences at the lower level of cricket. Everyday, he scans through around 10 newspapers for such items, cuts out the articles and files it away to be sent to Wisden in the United Kingdom at the beginning of each year.

He first thought of sending some clippings to Wisden in 1995 and much to his surprise, the following year he received a complimentary copy along with a 50-pound cheque. “They no longer send a payment but I don't do this for money. It is a privilege to contribute to such a prestigious publication,” he says, proudly displaying his complimentary copy of this year’s edition.

Thanks to Dahatonde, young guns like Sarfaraz Khan and his younger brother Musheer have made it to Wisden for their exploits in inter-school cricket. In his dispatches for this year’s edition of Wisden (costing Rs 1999), Dahatonde sent a clipping of several cricket articles published in this newspaper including the one about Rajhans Vidyalaya being bowled out for a mere four runs by Yashodham High School in last season’s Harris Shield Plate final.

And bowler Gaurang Sachar gets a mention as well for his 6 for 0 spell and 85 runs. Before earning his 1996 Wisden, Dahatonde could afford only one edition the 1983 one bought at a discounted price of Rs 65. Today, he has a 1996 to 2015 run and all came for free. Well, considering the work he put in, it’s not exactly free.

Flood of woes and heaps of leaps
These are the two faces of the Mumbai monsoon because this season is as multi-faceted as the city itself. At times, it brings out the child in you, that is if you are not a child.

An open manhole sign is a familiar sight as vehicles wade through water logged roads. Pics/PTI
An open manhole sign is a familiar sight as vehicles wade through water logged roads. Pics/PTI

Daredevilry, who- cares? jump-in-and-live-for now, make-diving-boards-out of-city-infrastructure, Mumbai has its fun moments this season.

Kids jump from bus stop to plumb into depths below
Kids jump from bus stop to plumb into depths below

It also has traffic snarls, road rage, potholes are the pits, flood of woes and manholes are no go zones… moments too. So, two sides of the monsoon in Mumbai coin, and these two pictures illustrate what it is, quite perfectly.

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