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Mumbai Diary page: Friday Frolics

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

Fishing in murky waters
Here’S a cheap or rather free way to pass the time and have a bit of fun during the monsoon. All you need is a long stick, a piece of string, and a few worms if you are not squeamish, to use for bait. Then you need to find a water body which is likely to hold specimens of piscean life, of course.

Youths make merry fishing in the local waters... we hope they maintain their balance! Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
Youths make merry fishing in the local waters... we hope they maintain their balance! Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

The local creeks are a favourite, but those who live further to the north of the city have a wider choice of lakes and ponds to fish in. These boys are trying their luck at Karjat, but given that the dam is not even close to full, they may not have bagged very much. Still, half the fun is in the chase, as they say.

Will mall ambitions suit Mumbai?
It will cost $7 billion, will be 48 million sq ft big, will have 100 hotels with 20,000 rooms, and will be climate-controlled. Unfortunately, it won’t be in Mumbai.

An artist’s impression of the planned smart city in Dubai
An artist’s impression of the planned smart city in Dubai

Dubai, of course, is where everyone who is anyone in Mumbai goes to shop for gold and sundry other things. The emirate that almost went bust in 2009 following the global economic slowdown plans to revive itself with a massive smart city project, that is likely to be the envy (or role model) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his plan to build 100 smart cities in India.

Oh yes, Dubai Holding, the conglomerate that is in charge of the building the Mall of the World, says it will take at least 10 years to build the showpiece. Mumbaikars can take heart that the 8 million sq ft mall, which is just one part of the overall project, will take merely three years to build.

The images released by Dubai Holding show that the mall will be like a space-age city straight out of The Jetsons. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, launched the project a fortnight ago, and said the city will be able to handle 18 crore visitors annually.

It will have a designated medical tourism area, a 7-km-long shopping and entertainment district that could put any global city to shame, a parking area for 50,000 cars and a theme park connected to the shopping district. For good measure, the excellent planners have also added a wellness district where our shopaholics can go relax.

Now, if they decide to do this in Mumbai, we only wonder a) where would they get the land; b) how much will it cost, given Mumbai’s real estate prices; and, most important, c) since all political parties and developers would want a piece of the pie, will the project take off at all. After all, we are still waiting for Mumbai to become Shanghai, aren’t we?

Air-bags for whom...?
We have to take issue (once again) with the continuing advertisement on television for a brand of “people’s car”, which shows a man asking the salesman, “What happens if I press the accelerator instead of the brake?” The salesman assures him, “Sir, it comes with air-bags.”

Now, this safety device may well protect those inside the car in case the inept driver does do something so foolish... but what about the victims outside the car? Does the car provide air-bags for them too?

Pun in the air
We hear that a city-based agony aunt, who was interviewed for BBC Radio recently, cracked a good one: “Adolescence is a time of acne and ecstasy.”

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