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Mumbai Diary page: Friday Frolics

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

And which ministry would that be?
The daily commute is a potpourri of anecdotes and slices of life that both amuse and amaze.

On the evening after the swearing-in ceremony of the Narendra Modi government took place, the local train was naturally abuzz with chatter where opinions and reputations were discussed with fascinating insight.

Our attention was caught by one corner, where a bunch of collegians seemed concerned about whether and how much the new cabinet would affect their partying and nights out. One worried girl asked, “Kya hoga, boss? Nightclub wala minister kaun hoga?” Now that would leave even Modiji stumped, wouldn’t it?

Code of the road
When in Mumbai, expect ironies. Also, expect the taxiwallah to be as expressive as humanly possible; especially when it comes to using expletives. Bikers are his mortal enemies and he flings the choicest of words and phrases in their direction.

One such cab driver exhausted himself swearing as if he was competing with his own vocabulary. Most surprising was the cabbie’s confession a little later that he worships Durga. We’re sure we saw the little framed picture of the goddess on the dashboard smiling.

Destiny, I say
There is something about Mumbai. Even in the hurly burly of this frenetic metropolis, there is time to think of thoughts profound. Like the driver of the Mumbai Indians (MI) team bus, who was sitting at the wheel of the stationary vehicle outside the Trident hotel (Nariman Point) yesterday morning.

The driver of the MI bus. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The driver of the MI bus. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Santosh Singh said that he had driven the team back from the Brabourne Stadium venue on Wednesday night, post the IPL fixture which they lost to Chennai. Asked whether he could detect disappointment among the players as he drove the bus back to the hotel, Singh laughed as he said, “No, what is there to be disheartened or dejected? Winning or losing are in one’s destiny.” Hmmm. We don’t know if the IPL coaches would subscribe to this, but then, to each his own.

Making heads turn
Thursday morning’s merciless mercury did not deter a crowd of people from gathering at the traffic island near Trident Hotel Nariman Point, opposite the Air-India building. The occasion was the installation of a sculpture, a 10-foot head painted with imagery of the city.

The sculpture, with Chintan Upadhyay in the foreground. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The sculpture, with Chintan Upadhyay in the foreground. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Created by sculptor Chintan Upadhyay and first of the part of a series to create sculptures and place them at different traffic islands in the city, the image is one of shouting colour. The entire project, under the RPG Foundation, is called Mapping the City and is an effort to bring sculpture to Mumbai’s public spaces.

Yesterday’s installation certainly brought a lot of people to that public space besides the invitees, there were also a lot of curious onlookers. Upadhyay said, “I have been working on this for six months. This sculpture was made in different parts in Kolkata, Gujarat and Jaipur before coming in to Mumbai.

It is my tribute to the city.” For Upadhyay, the sculpture must evoke debate amongst people. “Even if it provokes a thought, an idea, that is good, for different interpretation is what art is all about,” he said as the traffic buzzed past on Marine Drive.

The rhino statue which stood at this traffic island has found a new home in Juhu. Meanwhile, two other projects are in the making.

Crawford Market is soon to get a 13-foot rendition of a dabbawala sculpture and Worli-Sasmira junction is to get a sculpture of cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar. All so very Mumbai, really.

Dripping trips
While trains, like the rest of us, deserve to get nice and clean (and we wouldn’t have it any other way), there is no reason to see a sight like this, which is sadly all too common at train terminuses.

These dripping taps result in a cumulatively large amount of water being wasted, and when we are getting increasingly conscious about conserving this precious resource, it is nothing short of tragic to see it just going down the drain.

Whether it is a fault in the taps or just a callous attitude on the part of those using them, this practice needs to dry up.

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