Mumbai Diary page: Friday Frolics

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

There's something about Mary
Five-time world boxing champion and London Olympics bronze medalist Mary Kom did not make it to the Indian boxing contingent that participated in the recent Commonwealth Games n Glasgow.

Everyone was talking about Mary Kom at Glasgow
Everyone was talking about Mary Kom at Glasgow

Pinki Rani beat Mary Kom in the selection trials and took her place in Glasgow. However, Mary’s “absent presence” at the venue was felt not just by Indians but by foreigners too.

“So many international boxers and even officials in Glasgow kept inquiring with me about Mary Kom. And when I told them that she hadn’t qualified for this event, they didn’t believe me. Some even thought I was joking and felt sure that the Manipuri pugilist would turn up in the ring later.

Some were worried for her health. This just goes to show the amount of goodwill Mary Kom enjoys. She truly is a fine global ambassador for the country,” India boxing chief coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told mid-day earlier this week as the contingent returned home after the Games.

Devotion in clay
It's that time of the year again. Ganesh idols are seen everywhere, and the city, not to mention the state, is gearing up for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival which begins on August 29.

Children making eco-friendly Ganesh idols
Children making eco-friendly Ganesh idols

With the degradation of the environment being a cause for growing concern, city- based NGO Young Environmentalists organised an eco-Ganesha making competition for school children, using clay from the city’s Mithi River and Powai Lake.

More than 300 students from various schools in the area took part in the competition, held at Powai. Elsie Gabriel, founder of the Young Environmentalists Programme Trust which hosted the educational interactive event, says, “Citizens must be aware that a river flows through our city and a serene lake also exists.

We are so privileged, yet both these water bodies are neglected. Getting clay from these natural sources is intended to highlight the plight of the water bodies and also have an interactive lesson of clay art and therapy. People made Ganpatis with biodegradable decorations and eco-friendly colours to spread the message of promoting environmentally-friendly idols this year.”

All the students present were so excited that they pledged to take the message to their homes and schools. Some of the students also decided that they would use the idols they made for the festival.

Best friends forever
In Cyberia, BFFs can come and go, with “forever” lasting maybe as long as the next profile picture update. Of course, that’s a cynical view but not unfounded, going by the fickle nature of today’s fast-paced friendships and relationships.

A nameless stray dog at Dombivili station, perhaps looking for his special person. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
A nameless stray dog at Dombivili station, perhaps looking for his special person. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

There is one category of friend, however, which is lasting and can be lifelong. We are referring, of course, to Canis lupus familiaris or the ubiquitous dog. Stories are plentiful about the dog’s faithfulness, and we have seen many instances of a dog being the only companion of a homeless or destitute person.

Tiger goes for his regular walk at Juhu. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Tiger goes for his regular walk at Juhu. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

On a cold, lonely night, that warm, furry friend can be a lifesaver. Dogs are so loyal that they are known to wait for their chosen person for hours at a time. Readers may call to mind the Hollywood film Hachiko, about the real-life Akita dog who made history with his loyalty and love.

Perhaps there is a similar tale behind this canine at Dombivili station, who is spotted waiting on the steps to the station, oblivious to the crowds surging around him. Then there is Tiger, who lost a leg in a road accident when he was six months old, but was rescued and has been a happy hound, living in Juhu, for some six years now.

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