Mumbai Diary page: Saturday Scene

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

Stickers, apps and a tiff over radiation
Yestarday at the Press Club, Dr Dariusz Leszczynski, a radiation expert from Finland and member of the WHO Expert Committee 2011 that classified EMF Radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, addressed the media.

Dr Dariusz Leszczynski (L) and Prakash Munshi pose with the mobile sticker to encourage responsible use of cell phones. Pic/Suresh KK
Dr Dariusz Leszczynski (L) and Prakash Munshi pose with the mobile sticker to encourage responsible use of cell phones. Pic/Suresh KK

As he explained the hazards of mobile and smart phone radiation as well as mobile towers emission, a representative from a well known cellphone network provider who was also at the meet got into a debate with Leszczynski, Prakash Munshi and Prof Girish Kumar who propagate cell phone/tower radiation hazards and solution awareness.

As the debate got heated with numbers and information of the safe and unsafe level of radiation in the city being thrown both parties made their points. Munshi towards the end of Leszczynski’s presentation put the newly launched awareness sticker which reads, ‘Unlimited cell phone use increases risk of cancer, take precautions’ on the Finnish doctor’s phone.

Besides explaining how more cell phone towers with less radiation emission is better for the health of people, Leszczynski also acquainted those gathered with apps for Android and IOS that measure radiation in an area. The apps are Quanta monitor, Quanta guard and Quanta pro by Cellraid, a Finnish company.

When your fingers do the walking
That catchy slogan for a brand of business directory comes to mind when one sees the ubiquitous mobile phone users on our streets, so engrossed in their chats and games that they don’t even realise they have just missed death or injury.

Illustrations/Amit Bandre
Illustrations/Amit Bandre

Yes, the smarter the phone, the less smart its users, apparently. In Mumbai itself we have seen several instances of young people killed because they are so absorbed in their phones that even the sound of an oncoming train or vehicle does not register.

Those who block other pedestrians on city pavements are minor transgressors by comparison, but they too need to wake up to the dangers of texting while walking. China may have the answer - in the city of Chongqing, a 30-metre lane has recently been opened for cellphone-using walkers. The move raises questions of its own, of course.

As The Guardian newspaper remarked, “How will people so distracted by their phones that they are bumping into lampposts manage to stay within the lines of the lane? Even if they do, why will they not bump into each other all the time, or walk straight into the road when the lane finishes? How, for that matter, will they even notice the existence of the lane in the first place?”

Lost in translation
Language is a funny thing and this poster we noticed proves it. The Indian contingent for the Asian Games in South Korea is seen with posters cheering on the athletes.

Literal translation taken to the next level
Literal translation taken to the next level

While “Go India” is a fine way to cheer on the contingent, the literal translation of this colloquial phrase ended up as “Jaana India” and had us in splits, as it actually means “Go away India”.

It seems to be a “Google Translate” version, when in fact “Chalo India” would have been the preferred encouragement. We hope our desi cheer-squads keep this in mind if and when they yell encouragement to foreign teams!

Time is of the essence
We somehow end up eyeing that clock, even though we may not dub ourselves clock-watchers. But at least once a day the thought crosses most minds, “So many minutes till…” and we count down.

Sometimes we notch up hours, and sometimes days. World Cup fans count in four-year periods! If you go by television commercials and what they dish out to us, however, everything is a matter of just minutes. There is a brand of soup that says you need to add hot water and wait for just one minute till it’s ready.

The all-too-famous instant noodles ask you to cook them for two minutes although everyone knows that it takes at least five minutes to make two-minute noodles!

And then there is the ad where the young actress backstage promises to get ready in “just five minutes” and not only is her greasepaint off, she looks both scrubbed and coiffed, immaculately turned out for her waiting swain. If five minutes can do that, imagine all the time we have been wasting...

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