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Mumbai Diary page: Saturday Scene

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

Diamonds aren’t cheap
Being as we are avid television watchers, we often stay glued to the box even during the commercials. Some ads can be as entertaining and even as moving as the programmes we watch, so why not?

But we were a little surprised the other day to see a commercial for a brand of diamond jewellery, that plays on the theme of weddings. No surprises there, except that this one appears to be trying some sort of reverse psychology.

The ad shows two sisters shopping for the elder one’s wedding jewellery. The salesman shows the elder sister a diamond necklace which costs about Rs 3 lakh. “Only 3 lakh? I thought it would be expensive,” she whispers to her kid sis. The sister replies, “But it is expensive, isn’t it, Didi? You’re having to get married in order to get it.”

The elder sister gives her a dirty look but says nothing and we are a little speechless too, because this sort of denigrates the whole marriage mystique, doesn’t it? Is the woman “paying a price” by getting married? And is a diamond necklace worth giving up your life for (as is implied)?

This message is even more puzzling, when you consider that it comes from the same company which made waves with its revolutionary, forward-thinking wedding jewellery ad last year.

A good cause, in 3D
The new big thing on the block, three-dimensional or 3D printing, may seem like a luxurious fad to some, but has only just begun to prove its usefulness in various fields, such as manufacturing (including automobiles). Faster, cheaper and more efficient, 3D printing is seen as a revolution in technology.


PIC/Getty Images

And for at least one group of underprivileged people right here in our country, it is a revolution of another sort. Because 3D printing uses plastic for the end product, a Pune-based social enterprise called Protoprint has begun “sourcing” the raw material from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) waste, which is collected by gleaners for recycling.

A report in the science magazine New Scientist says, “The group’s aim is to train local pickers in Pune to collect HDPE waste and then show them how to shred, melt and convert that plastic into the strands of filament that are the feedstock for one of the world’s burgeoning technology industries: 3D printing.”

The report says the idea has already led a non-governmental organisation called TechForTrade in London to begin establishing an ethics body to ensure that the gleaners are not exploited by companies or gangs. Protoprint is the brainchild of MIT alumnus and social entrepreneur Sidhant Pai, who is developing the idea along with the Pune-based waste-collection cooperative Swach.

We hope the programme grows and expands to cover more cities in India, and gives a helping hand to the army of gleaners who help clear out some of the rubbish that people regularly inflict on the environment.

Pune, ahoy
Racing enthusiasts need to focus their binoculars on Peshwa City, as it is countdown to the Pune racing season which is set to begin on July 24.

Earlier, we had the Deccan Queen full of racing enthusiasts doing the Pune-Mumbai rounds as racing season began, now flights comprise the racing fraternity who commute Pune-Mumbai. Meanwhile, expect the scenic Pune Turf Club to be full of Mumbai-Pune chatter Thursday onwards. On Wednesday, July 23 there is a season opener briefing at The Ball room, Turf Club House, Pune.

Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) honchos are to highlight major features of the season and have an open house with the media and members on the affairs of the Club, a teaser to whet the appetite for the season which gallops off a day after. The stage is set, the cocktails are on ice and the gates (in racing terminology) are shut. Now, all aficionados are waiting for is for the horses to bolt from the stable — and onto the track of course.

Jaya fans on track
Two schoolboys were returning home in a first-class train compartment, and as it was not peak hour they found seats, facing a group of men. The men sitting in front of them struck up a conversation with the boys, and casually asked them where they were originally from. One of the boys said they came from Tamil Nadu, and their mother tongue is Tamil.

Two city schoolboys turned out to be fans of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha. Pic/Pravin Mahida
Two city schoolboys turned out to be fans of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha. Pic/Pravin Mahida

The men decided to quiz the boys about their home state. “Do you know the chief minister of your state?” Not only did the boy reply in a flash: “Jayalalitha”, the two kids then proceeded to extol the virtues of “Amma”, saying, “Our Jayalalitha is very good and generous to the poor.

She helps school kids and gives free education, free uniforms, free meals.” They went on to list the things she did for people, saying she gives free homes to the poor and jobs to many. “This is why people love her and vote for her,” they declared.

Not only that, the boys said that they were in Mumbai for their studies, and would go back to Tamil Nadu after completing SSC. “In our village, Rs 5 can get you a filling meal (pet bhar khaana). Gaon mein bahut achchha hai.

Sab sasta hai. Idhar sab mahenga hai. Yahaan kuchh free nahin milta.” The older occupants of the carriage were left marvelling at the boys’ practical outlook, though one of them sighed: “Look at the expectations these boys have at this age...”

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