Mumbai Diary page: Saturday Scene

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

Feeling hot, hot, hot...
Rakhi Sawant has certainly sent hearts aflutter in more ways than one with her foray into politics. She’s painting the town not red but green, making a vibrant splash on the news pages with her verdant outfits, down to colour-coordinated grass-green nail polish (yes, we noticed). The theme is in keeping with her party symbol, a fresh green chilli.

Illustrations/Amit Bandre
Illustrations/Amit Bandre

And whether it’s the chilli or her sizzling vibes, she seems to have made Aam Aadmi Party opponent Mayank Gandhi hot under the collar as well, judging by his comments that serious people would not vote for Sawant. To that we can only imagine that Sultry Sawant would be singing the ’90s Govinda-starrer hit number “Tujhko mirchi lagi toh main kya karoon?”

Girl power for Maria
City Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria has a lot of expectations to fulfil. Some hope he can bring the city back to “Ribeiro’s Mumbai”, harking back to former top cop Julio, while others expect him to wave a magic wand and rid the city of thieves and rapists in a jiffy.

Yesterday afternoon he was seen in a more benign avatar, at a prize distribution function for the winners of a drawing competition on women’s and children’s safety which was organised by a charitable foundation along with the Mumbai Police.

After several dignitaries spoke, it was Maria’s turn and he remarked that though he had achieved a great deal, there was one thing lacking in his life, and that was a daughter. The poignant atmosphere was punctuated by a young girl from the audience who stood up and asked, “Sir, then why don’t you adopt a daughter?” Maria took but a moment to respond, with a smile, “That’s certainly something to consider… I’ll discuss it with my wife.”

All about the money
Election campaigning time is when cash is king, and there have been quite a few instances in most regions of the state where where officials have came across wads of currency notes.

The latest incident was on Friday when election observers stumbled upon a huge amount of cash in an office in Nagpur, that belongs to Congress strongman Vilas Muttemwar. A red-faced Muttemwar claimed that the office belongs to his businessman son. And he says it was sabotage, that the cash had been brought in by the officials themselves.

Given the potential for cash use and misuse during the elections, the Income Tax department in Mumbai has decided to set up six quick response teams and special squads at airports and railway stations. A central control unit too will work round the clock. To establish that any cash they may be carrying is genuine, people will have to carry the relevant receipts.

Silence is gay-lden
The poster announcing the meeting between the queer community and the Aam Aadmi Party tomorrow is a vibrant yellow and titled: The Dialogue: AAP Se Kuch Baat.

The invite, announcing the interaction
The invite, announcing the interaction

The meet which is to be held in the evening at Khar (W) The HIVE says it has Queer Mumbai in conversation with Aam Aadmi Party, where AAP attendees are Sunder Balakrishnan, AAP candidate of Mumbai South Central, Phiroze Palkhivala, AAP, Mumbai North Central and Radhika Nair who is described as member of the AAP Campaign Operations Team.

We do not yet know what will be discussed, but given that Section 377 (criminalising consensual sex between two consenting same-sex adults) has been reinstated by the Supreme Court, it is certainly interesting to see that representatives of a political party are going to address the queer community.

And... if you blink you would almost miss it. A line says at the end: This event is closed to press. Hmmm. Strange that a community which cries ‘open’ and inclusiveness at all times, is closed to the press. But then, maybe it is to protect the identity of the attendees, or then again, maybe, it is at the request of a political party.

Meanwhile, we await the day when a leader or politician of some stature in India comes out as gay, out of the closet, like it happens in certain Western countries. That would surely bring about a political revolution in its own way.

Contributed by: Ravikiran Deshmukh, Hemal Ashar, Vinay Dalvi, Vidya Heble

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