Mumbai Diary page: Monday Musings

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

The sound and the furry
Now that the festivity surrounding Diwali has more or less waned, there are certain things that need to be highlighted. Although it’s a festival of light, more emphasis is given to sound and chemicals. In fact, that’s the only thing secular about the whole festival everybody in the neighbourhood bursts firecrackers irrespective of their ideologies.

If only the world went to the dogs… or the cats. Pic/Pallavi Shastry
If only the world went to the dogs… or the cats. Pic/Pallavi Shastry

It might look endearing but not everyone would agree; especially not the non-human creatures in the vicinity. Stray dogs are the worst victims of firecrackers and the same is true about stray cats (who otherwise don’t care a dime about their two-legged rivals). The way they are traumatised by the ear-shattering noise, not to mention the smoke and sparks, is cruel, to say the least.

Diwali revellers seldom spare a thought for animals - why that, they won’t even make allowances for the ill, the elderly, or expecting mothers. That’s also a reason why civic sense should join hands with common sense in ensuring a slightly different, and better, future. It’s time to bring down the decibels at Diwali.

Horses for courses
This weekend saw the last of racing in Pune, with the season over in Peshwa City. Racing aficionados are now training their binoculars towards Mumbai, where the racing season begins on November 16. All the chatter at the racecourse, though, is about the two elections the current Vidhan Sabha elections won by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the smaller Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) election slated for December this year.

Racing at Mahalaxmi is set to begin on November 16
Racing at Mahalaxmi is set to begin on November 16

With the Mahalaxmi racecourse lease having expired, the club officials are looking on with some trepidation about who will become Chief Minister (CM). Since politicians have made different noises about the racecourse some time ago, it is of special concern to them who takes the State’s chair.

Then, of course is the smaller but important to the club, RWITC elections, a hot-button issue for the high-profile racing headquarters of W India. So, even as the hooves fall silent in Pune, and the dust settles there, it is dial ‘e’ for elections as Mumbai readies for racing.

Keeping it green and colourful
Festival time is when we tend to throw caution to the winds. We indulge in sweet treats and forbidden food, we litter the roads and neighbourhoods with firecracker debris, we pay little or no heed to sound pollution.

Asking people to turn down the volume. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
Asking people to turn down the volume. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

A group in Dombivili East, realising the need to conserve ecology while making merry, has expressed this message in their rangoli, asking people to refrain from noise pollution during Diwali. We hope it was effective!

Cash prize
Children making up games in the streets of Dharavi are a familiar sight, but during a recent cab ride our attention was drawn to a group of boys playing with a ball and one of them was holding a big wad of cash. The mystery was solved when the cabbie said that it was a form of gambling.

Each time a player managed to throw the ball in the right spot, he could take a note from the bundle of R 10 notes. “This is how such bad habits start and then they can’t get away from gambling later in life,” remarked the disappointed cabbie with a shake of his head, as the boys, the ball and the cash receded in the rear-view mirror. Point to ponder.

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