Mumbai Diary page: Friday frolics

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

Mirror, mirror on the car
On our daily commute, whether by train, bus or car, we see a variety of sights from the mundane to the mysterious. Now and then something makes us do a double take, such as this car we spotted in the western suburbs. For one thing, the windows are tinted black itself a violation.

A peephole for the mirror. Pic/Chirag Waghela
A peephole for the mirror. Pic/Chirag Waghela

(The rear of the car claims that it belongs to a VIP.) There are still several cars using such film, so in itself it was not eye-catching. What did grab our attention was the perfectly round hole in the dark tinted film. We wondered for a moment what it could be, and then realisation struck it was there so that the driver could see the rear-view mirror!

Sitting Ducks
Overheard, in the local train, someone explaining stand-up comedy to a fellow commuter: “You have to watch it while standing up, there are no seats.”

Hole in the wall, you say?
Pioneering entrepreneurship is the name of the game in Mumbai, and the closer one is to the street, the more evident is this spirit. This paanwallah in Borivali is an example of creative space use, if one can call it that.

This Mumbai paanwallah shows why he is an entirely worthy inhabitant of this city of enterprise. Pic/Nimesh Dave
This Mumbai paanwallah shows why he is an entirely worthy inhabitant of this city of enterprise. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Faced with a blank wall of sheets concealing a construction site, the smalltime shopkeeper could have well set up his stall on the pavement outside the sheets, as so many countless footpath encroachers do.

But he has gone one step further and cut a space in the metal big enough for the stall to be ensconced in. And voila, a cosy little nook for his “metal-lica concert”.

A welcome police escort
Mulund check naka, LBS Marg. This diarist, with a ligament injury in one ankle, was limping slowly towards the rickshaw stand. Suddenly, a traffic policeman, leaving his duty post, approached and said; “Sir, kaay kartaaye?”

“Kay zhala?” I asked, wondering how a pedestrian had managed an infraction. “Sir, tumhala ricksha pahije (do you need a rickshaw)?” he asked. I nodded. “Aamhala sanga na, sir. We are here for you only. Please don’t embarrass us, I will get a rickshaw for you.”

I didn’t want to trouble him, as he was dealing with traffic at the perennially-choked check naka. “Arey sir...asa bolu naka. What happened to your foot?” An injury while playing football. “Oho, kaalji ghya (take care).” He whistled to a rickshaw, and he and another policeman escorted me to the vehicle and ensured I was seated.

The cop then told the rickshaw driver to drop me at my destination, and drive slowly to avoid jerks to my foot. Unfortunately, the rickshaw moved off before I could catch their names. Here’s a big thank you, sirs, for your kindness.

An evening of golden oldies
Today, at 7pm, the Mysore Association Hall near Maheshwari Udyan in Matunga will see a very special concert being held an evening of nostalgic Hindi film songs sung by a group of senior citizens called the Hummingbirds.

Hailing from different walks of life, the Hummingbirds are celebrating one year of their association today, too, and will pay tribute to the music directors who gave us timeless evergreen hits. Accompanied by a six-piece live orchestra, the singers, who range in age up till 80 years, plan to deliver 28 songs, representing various genres.

It’s in the bag
Not a new form of decoration these multicoloured carrier bags that cover the railings at Shivaji Udyan in Dombivili East belong to casual labourers who throng the site for daily jobs, and the bags contain their lunchboxes.

The railings are bright with tiffin-box bags. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
The railings are bright with tiffin-box bags. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

In a city where even a simple meal can cost close to Rs 100, the bags hold precious cargo indeed. And they fuel the dreams of so many...

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