Mumbai Diary page: Friday Frolics

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

No onion, no cry
Onion prices seem to be the first to get hit when it comes to the crunch. The basic vegetable gets sliced, diced and chopped into just about everything that we eat — excepting Jain cuisine, of course — so rising onion prices hit us where it hurts.

And with the rates of Allium cepa set to go skywards again, we are bound to find innovations in the matter of buying as well as selling the pink bulbs. Here, this vendor in central Mumbai seems to be going an extra mile to sell sacks of onions at R 100 per 5-kg sack. Seems to work for some.

Seasonal seat scrambles
Usually when a local train pulls into the station, there is a mad rush for seats by incoming commuters. Those who are adept at swinging themselves into the compartments before the train has halted completely, get their choice picks.

The others have to make do with second and third best, and then comes the vying for best standing positions which are usually determined by which station one is alighting at. In fact, at some stations there are “queues” on either side of the centre bar for getting off at certain stations, and you had better not try to change queues at the last minute!

When it comes to seat-picking, in sunny weather it is the window seats which are coveted. Regulars know which side to choose in order to avoid strong sunlight. But in monsoon there is a different sort of rush. This one is not for window position.

In fact the windows will probably be closed when it is raining, though this is no guarantee that rain will not trickle in through the edges. So the monsoon seat scramble is for the centre of the compartment, where one is reasonably assured of remaining untouched by the rain that lashes in through the doors.

Bun and maska?
So we received yet another email from the good folks promoting the Sunburn Festival. Except that the email’s subject line said “Sunbun”. Maybe the erratic arrival of the monsoon caused the PR folks to get a touch of extra sun...

What the chef!
Eavesdropping on a conversation during intermission time of the movie called Chef at a multiplex cinema in Lower Parel, one overheard a young man telling another with a laugh, “Looking at this movie, I feel like cooking all day and stop going to office.”

(Incidentally, the movie Chef is about a professional chef who is fired from his job at a restaurant and starts a food truck of his own). Now if a lot more people thought that way and acted on it, one would soon see offices empty and Mumbai cookin’ up a veritable storm. Hmmm... yum’s the word.

Look who went to the prom!
This signboard at Elephanta Caves was captured by our “Mumbai For Kids” columnist Vinitha Ramchandani during a recent visit to the island.

A case of monkeying around with the English language!
A case of monkeying around with the English language!

While it is something to laugh about, and may even find its way into online collections of bloopers such as “English Whirled Wide” and others, it is at the same time a matter of embarrassment that the state’s official translation from Marathi to English (not to mention the quality of sign painting) is so appallingly atrocious.

The message on this sign is simple and to goof it up so badly requires real skill of sorts. Maybe the translator and/or sign painter should join one of the country’s spy services to spread confusion among our enemy ranks with obscure signs...

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