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Mumbai Diary page: Saturday Scene

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

Hail fellow, well met
Not only is it true that nothing is permanent in politics, it also goes without saying that convenience is the basis for many friendships.

This is evident at the moment in at least two of the state’s Lok Sabha constituencies, which will go for polling in the second phase on April 17.

For the Congress, things don’t seem that easy in Nanded and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seats, where ex-CM Ashok Chavan and Dr Nilesh Rane, son of another ex-CM Narayan Rane, are the candidates.

For both Chavan and Rane, the man facilitating things is none other than NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, who caused eyebrows to be raised recently when his cavalcade drove to the door of Pratap Patil Chikhalikar, a bitter critic and political foe of Ashok Chavan.

After Pawar’s meeting with him, Chavan too went to meet Chikhalikar (once known as the disciple of his late father SB Chavan). They have all decided to join hands to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party away from Nanded and Latur constituencies.

The mission continued on Friday when Pawar visited Sindhudurg district to convince his party’s local unit to cooperate with the Ranes.

Toiling upward: Perseverance takes the climber to the top at Kanheri Caves. PIC/SACHIN KALBAG
Toiling upward: Perseverance takes the climber to the top at Kanheri Caves. PIC/SACHIN KALBAG

Dhoble to the rescue
Assistant Commissioner of Police Vasant Dhoble, who is now posted in the Economic Offences Wing, may have been a stern upholder of morals when he cracked down on nightspots, but he apparently has a soft spot for those genuinely put upon.

Vasant Dhoble
Vasant Dhoble

Recently he had a surprise visitor at his office — a youth who said his uncle had taken Rs 15,000 from him and promised him a job at Lilavati Hospital, which never materialised. The youth had gone to the Bhoiwada police to complain, but his case was not entertained.

Having heard about Dhoble’s reputation as a strict officer, he had come all the way to his Crawford Market office, asking him to help.

Dhoble realised that the youth was genuinely in trouble and called up the Bhoiwada police, instructing them to register the case and pursue the absconding uncle. This cop may have stopped dance bars but he sure is making law-enforcers dance to the right tune.

Before the Almighty – and BEST!
The city’s BEST bus service offers fare concessions for various categories of passengers, including children up to the age of 12, and orthopaedically handicapped people.

On a recent commute, a woman boarded the bus with her teenaged son, and asked the conductor for a concessional “half-ticket” for him.

The conductor asked how old he was and she replied, 15. He told her that the “half-ticket” is not applicable for those above 12.

The woman said, “But he is mentally handicapped.” The conductor explained patiently to the woman, “In the eyes of god, and in the eyes of BEST also, he is equal.” Now that’s explaining the rules with a dose of philosophy.

Quick turnaround
Politics can be the art of opening your mouth only to change feet. Minister Narayan Rane’s younger son Nitesh jumped into the “rape is a mistake” fray with a tweet that appeared to advocate assault on women supporters of the partyman who made the original statement.

Naturally, flak erupted and he deleted the tweet before it could go any further than the several thousand shares it had already garnered. Just like we think before pressing the poll button, politicians should think before pressing “post”.

Humming a sad tune
It Wasn't too long ago that this page featured the launch of the book India Psychedelic, where veteran Mumbai musician Nandu Bhende rocked the rafters of the music lounge Blue Frog, along with his contemporaries. We were thus shocked and saddened to hear of his passing.

Bhende always made an unforgettable impression, whether he was belting out Marathi pop songs on Doordarshan in the era we know as BC (before cable), bringing down the house at gigs, or coaching new talent in voice modulation.

Certainly, he left listeners in awe with his powerful vocals at the Blue Frog gig, one of the last few that he played. Our hearts are heavy as we write this, and we hope he is peacefully strumming away in Rock Heaven.

Contributed by: Ravikiran Deshmukh, Vinay Dalvi, Vidya Heble

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