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Mumbai Diary page: Saturday Scene

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

Selfie fumblers
Once a celebrity is spotted at a public place, for example at a mall or an airport, fans run right up to the star seeking a selfie, with their smartphones in hand. One such girl spotted actor Arjun Kapoor at the airport and requested a selfie. The star obliged and stood beside her striking a pose for the young girl.

However, so excited and nervous was the girl that she could not press the click button on her phone and kept fumbling, much to the annoyance of the other girls waiting in line for a chance to click their own respective selfies. The girl in question got her 15 seconds of fame, so to speak, but no picture to back her claim of a side hug with the star. Excitement can get the better of us sometimes, but leaves us with such stories to narrate.

Machine that’s going to pot!
The city’s pothole-filling machines have a chequered history. Well, there’s not so much history as mystery, considering that the Rs-68-crore behemoths have not actually been used since they were brought from New Zealand.

One of the pothole-filling machines which are under-used, to say the least
One of the pothole-filling machines which are under-used, to say the least

Now, the ever-optimistic Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has again proposed that the Standing Committee pass Rs 3 crore for the machines to be used by the same contractor who had failed to use them in the past.

The machines were bought in 2008, and though they were never used for their intended purpose of filling potholes, the BMC has nevertheless shown in the proposal that the machines were used on 17,548 sq m of road in the last two years.

Corporators have long been crying foul about this obfuscation by the civic administration, as they never saw the machines being used on the roads. With potholes becoming a life-threatening issue, perhaps it is time the corporation stopped splashing around on the matter.

Foolhardy freedom
On August 15, everyone feels a sense of freedom. True, essential services (and your worthy journos) have to keep working, but almost everyone else has a holiday. Those who have not gone out of town for the long weekend, have been spending their time off in the city, sampling its many delights. The public holiday also means that trains are not crowded in fact at times there is enough room to do a dance in the compartment.

Which is what a group of three young boys were doing, among other things, on a local train trip yesterday. Their antics were getting rowdier as the journey progressed, and though they did not bother any of the passengers, their hi-jinks which included hanging out of the doorway were causing some concern.

One passenger eventually spoke up and told the boys to be careful as they could get hurt. One of the youngsters cheekily said, "It is Independence Day, we are free do to what we want.” The man persisted and reminded them of what could happen if the boys were careless.

“Look at that girl who lost her hands,” he said, recalling the case of Monica More. The youngsters had a ready answer: “Arre, she has become famous now with artificial hands. If something happens to us, we will also become famous!”

Change of baize
On A day when the tricolour flew high and proud across the city, there was only one colour on these men’s minds. The green baize of cue sports billiards and snooker.

The baize on the table being changed. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari
The baize on the table being changed. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari

The cloth was being changed at the Matunga Gymkhana, in readiness for the Billiards Premier League (modelled on cricket’s Indian Premier League but on a much more modest scale, of course), beginning today at different venues in Mumbai.

The baize is changed usually every six to eight months, depending on the wear and tear. Yesterday, the two tables at the Matunga Gymkhana were free of the old and on with the new, even as I-Day celebrations rang out in the club below.

As for green, the baize is brighter on the Indian side. There was a real sense of cheer in the cue room, as news had just trickled in about India winning the gold (India B team) and silver (India A team) in the inaugural World Billiards Team Championship in Glasgow (Scotland). The billiards tradition of bringing glory to India continues. What an I-Day gift to the nation!

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