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Mumbai Diary page: Friday Frolics

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

The sporting greens of Chembur
Our long-serving freelance sports cartoonist and occasional writer Austin Coutinho’s touch in a book 50 Golden Harvests on his employers Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd stands out. The former fast bowler, who is now approaching the end of his 35-year innings with RCF, has elaborated among other things, the Chembur firm’s keenness on sports.

Photographs from the book
Photographs from the book

They are proud of the fact that Dhanraj Pillay took his early steps to hockey stardom there and how cricketer Balvinder Singh Sandhu, who claimed India’s first wicket of the 1983 World Cup final, was an RCF man then. Sandhu, it is believed, perfected the ‘banana’ swing at the RCF nets where the Sikh and Coutinho challenged each other.

In Devil’s Pack, the book he wrote on his 1983 World Cup teammates, Sandhu said he had learnt how to bowl the late inswinger from Coutinho. Sachin Tendulkar also figures in the book in the form of an enchanting image of him as a determined 14-year-old batsman who posed for a photograph while walking up the pavilion stairs after a meaningful batting session in his formative years (right).

There’s also an intimate photograph of the batting maestro (above) saying goodbye to Vinod Kambli who is all set to leave for home after the Mumbai vs Baroda Ranji Trophy game in January 1995. Now, that’s a rare one.

Back to base camp
The Indian Army mule which Dr Santosh Gaikwad was performing taxidermy on is all ready and will be taken back to Nashik today. The professor of anatomy at Bombay Veterinary College, Parel has been working on the specimen since June this year.

The completed Indian Army mule
The completed Indian Army mule

Earlier this month he completed the skinning, tanning and structuring process of the specimen. Dr Gaikwad says, "The army uses the mule to transport machinery and their rations. Tying the right part in the right place is very important and so they sent the mule for taxidermy. Now that the animal is ready, they will be taking it to Nashik where the cadets will be taught to correctly tie the machinery and rations.”

As the mule heads back to the Artillery Centre in Nashik to be part of the teaching apparatus, we say, teaching will be much more hands on at the centre.

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