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Mumbai Diary page: Monday Musings

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

The politics of jams
With political shenanigans at fever pitch, areas in the vicinity of key leaders’ homes become extra-busy. Kalanagar in Bandra East is no exception. The residence of the Shiv Sena chief is at the eye of the storm, which consists in this case of vehicles taking up all available parking space on the main road, side roads and even curves.

This has made movement difficult for other traffic, to say the least, but stoic residents of the area are by now inured to the hullabaloo. As a bus conductor calmly (and confidently) told an impatient passenger during one such traffic snafu, “It will be like this till elections.”

He ran, he won, he did!
It is common knowledge that athletes, especially sprinters, enjoy a bit on banter on the field and are always up for a challenge. In school, kids are always challenging each other to a dash — the quickest to reach the class, the fastest to climb the stairs, or the first to be out of the school gate.

Saudi Arabia’s Masrahi celebrating, rather vehemently. Pic/AFP
Saudi Arabia’s Masrahi celebrating, rather vehemently. Pic/AFP

Well, something very similar happened at the Asian Games in Incheon yesterday. The two fastest runners to qualify for the 400m Men’s finals were having a competition of their own. Bahrain’s Abubakar Abbas and Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Ahmed Masrahi were having a go at each other during the heats.

And when the whistle blew for the final, Masrahi was out of the blocks like a flash and out sprinted the competition by a good 10 metres. As soon as he won Gold, Masrahi ran, chest-thumping and screaming in Abbas’ face: “I do! Abbas, I do!” Poor Abbas just walked away. Another day, another race, another fight for these two. PS: In the battle of these two Arab powerhouses, India’s Rajiv Arokia bagged the bronze in the 400m dash.

Nodding’s all right
For a city that claims to be sleepless, it’s worth noting that we catch quite a lot of people dozing off during daytime. But what about the non-human residents of the city? When do they sleep? Do they have a set time-table? Of course, the answers to these queries can be derived only from the kind of neighbourhood a given animal or bird is staying in.

It’s time for 40 winks. Pic/Shakti ShettyIt’s time for 40 winks. Pic/Shakti Shetty

Cats in some localities are more nocturnal than usual while pigeons in some buildings don’t flutter during noon in order to avoid the scorching sun. And the same is true about stray dogs as well. In some areas of the city, they are more diurnally visible while in others, they can be heard barking throughout your sleeptime.

We caught a “domesticated” monkey dozing off in its sitting position at Juhu Beach while his owner was fast asleep on the sand. In such a conundrum, biological clocks are going to clash with the nature of a habitat and one of the two is going to settle for a compromise.

On the mind’s screen
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. And often, a moving picture can be worth far more than that. This is the thought behind a film festival called Mantarang, to be held on October 4 and 5 between 10am and 7pm at Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Samata Nagar, Thane West. The festival has been organised by the Institute for Psychological Health, Thane, along with the school, and will have short films and feature films from world cinema.

Attendees can also learn about stress management, emotional regulation, effective coping and personality development as well as other topics, in interactive sessions with mental health experts and filmmakers. Registration for both days is Rs 100, and those interested can contact the Institute at iph.registerforactivity@gmail.com or 9870600075.

Clean sweep on track
Whether government offices, banks etc really get down to it on October 2 and follow the edict to clean the premises and do other so-called “menial” work, we can’t say.

Nahur station staff cleaning the booking office. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
Nahur station staff cleaning the booking office. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

But for the staff of at least one local railway station on the Central line, keeping their workplace clean has been part of their work for years. Ever since Nahur station was built in 2007, no cleaning staff cleans the booking office - this job is done by the railway staffers themselves.

In the spirit of a positive work ethic, doing one’s own chores is good - but when all other stations are maintained by dedicated cleaning staff, it is hardly fair that the Nahur staff have to shoulder this additional burden. They don’t have a choice, of course, because the alternative is to work in dirty premises.

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