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Mumbai Diary page: Monday Musings

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

Bhutto in the good book
Our in-house scavenger of books and magazines was delighted when he stumbled on a tome, The Cathedral & John Connon School - An Undefiled Heritage (published in 2010 by The Anglo-Scottish Education Society, Mumbai) at one of the many secondhand booksellers of Matunga East last week.

The 1945 Cathedral & John Connon School cricket team. ‘Zulfi’ Bhutto is seated second from left
The 1945 Cathedral & John Connon School cricket team. ‘Zulfi’ Bhutto is seated second from left

What caught our attention was a cricket team photograph that has former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who spent 10 years (1936 to 1946) at Cathedral & John Connon School. On Page 165, the late Bhutto is thus described: “At school, Bhutto with silk attire and cravat in place even on the pitch, displayed a fluency in cricket and debates.


The cover of the book

Inspired by Indian cricket legend Mushtaq Ali, he was ‘a consistent and stylish batsman, and an energetic fielder.’ He was known as ‘Zulfi’.” We also learn that Bhutto played on the Mumbai maidans for Sunder Cricket Club which won the first ever Kanga League in 1948.

What’s in a rule?
Plenty, when it is a traffic rule. Because it’s not just about bending a law to suit yourself without affecting anyone else. When one traffic rule is broken, many around you get affected. Even helmets — not wearing a helmet may seem to affect only the two-wheeler rider, but let’s not forget the rider’s family and friends.

And taking other risks puts other people in danger as well as yourself. Shaving a few seconds off your timing by going through a red light, or avoiding a few minutes of traffic by going the wrong way on a one-way road, can endanger a whole lot of other people besides yourself.

You must be thinking that there is no need for such advice. Well, even we thought that the sad demise of union minister Gopinath Munde in a road accident, caused by the jumping of a red light, may have knocked some sense into drivers all over the country, or wherever the news reaches.

Apparently not, going by the myriad instances of traffic violations that seem to be rampant even as we speak. Two-wheeler riders appear to be in the lead, posing the most danger to other road users and pedestrians. A leader from our state has passed away because of a traffic violation. What bigger lesson do we need than this, to ensure that we use the roads safely and keep them safe for others?

Sad commentary
IT IS a reflection of our times, that parents cannot even let their children learn or play without worrying. We hear on Twitter that at a theatre workshop for little ones in the city, a concerned father asked the organisers, “What assurance can you give me that my kid won’t be molested?” Some may think he is overreacting, but we think it is a cause for concern that we as a society have become so fearful. Still, we can’t fault him for being a vigilant dad.

Memories of mustard fields
Deepika Padukone was just a little girl when Shah Rukh Khan made millions sigh and cry in the super-hit film Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. That may give you an idea of the film’s vintage (and it says quite another thing about SRK’s undying appeal that he and Padukone now share screen time together as leading pairs).

Deepika Padukone
Deepika Padukone

Kajol won over even the most cynical cine-goers with her ebullient performance, and “Ghar aaja pardesi”, Pamela Chopra’s evocative paean to India, replaced “Chitthi aayi hai” as the NRI’s homing-signal tune. When it was released in 1995, DDLJ may have begun life as one more of Bollywood’s romantic blockbusters, but Aditya Chopra’s directorial debut went on to scale heights that even the late Yash Chopra may not have expected.

The patriarch was able to celebrate when, in 2001, DDLJ overtook Sholay as the longest-running film, and it is now set to achieve another milestone, when it celebrates 1000 weeks a little later this year. And, in case you’re wondering whether people really go to watch this nostalgia trip, or whether it’s just a publicity stunt (an expensive one, wouldn’t you think), all you have to do is check with Maratha Mandir, the cinema where DDLJ is being screened as the matinee show.

And it’s not just canoodling couples or people “passing time” in the theatre; families still watch the blockbuster together, and emerge humming the unforgettable tunes. And yes, people still whistle and throw coins at the screen when SRK emerges in the sunny yellow mustard field, singing “Tujhe dekha toh...” Don’t blame us for the earworm.

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