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Mumbai Diary page: Saturday Scene

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

Closed eyes, open realities
Child labour might be disgusting but it’s a reality. In our city, where traffic signals decide whether those kids selling wares are going to make money or not, the harshness of this reality is way too apparent.

Dreams are made of these, but they’re probably not sweet. Pic/Shakti Shetty
Dreams are made of these, but they’re probably not sweet. Pic/Shakti Shetty

They can be anything from makeshift vendors to ragpickers. For reasons economical, they contribute their bit to small-scale businesses but at what cost? At an age when they should be studying in classrooms and playing on the maidans, they are toiling under the sun.

And the worst part is their mentality towards education is discouraging. Over 76 percent of child labourers rescued in raids conducted six years ago in Mumbai went back to work eventually, according to a city-based NGO. With the widespread “cleanliness drive” launched on Thursday, perhaps we need to clean our city of our street kids and send them back to school. Somehow.

Eats, cheats and leaves!
It takes all kinds to make a wicked, wicked world. At a well-known restaurant in Chowpatty, South Mumbai, recently, we heard that a man walked in and had a sumptuous meal, ringing up a bill of some Rs 2,000.

When he was presented with the bill, he said he would pay by card, and asked the waiter to bring the swipe machine to the table. The waiter did so, and tried swiping the card but it did not work. The customer then asked the staff whether there was an ATM nearby.

When told that there was, he said he would withdraw cash and return. As he was well-dressed and well-spoken, or as we would colloquially say, “decent-looking”, the staff did not suspect anything. However, as soon as he left the restaurant, he sped away, that too on a bicycle! The waiter ran after him when he realised what was happening. But two heels can’t compete with two wheels. Call it eat it and beat it, without paying!

Terminal Time
When Arnold Schwarzenegger met Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa recently, it made for some amusing headlines but no one expected her to be sent packing for graft. Arnie is best known as ‘The Terminator’, after all... Should corrupt people elsewhere begin to fear? Some Mumbai gyms sport posters of Arnie. And remember, his slogan is, “I’ll be back!”

De(a)fying the odds
ON Thursday, we featured this Navratri mandal’s inspiring story. Yesterday on Dussehra, Navratri Navyuvak Mandal which organised its 23rd garba and dandiya for the deaf had a meet and greet as they celebrated the festival.

Navratri Navyuvak Mandal members dance at the Dussehra celebration for the deaf
Navratri Navyuvak Mandal members dance at the Dussehra celebration for the deaf

The celebration saw 200 deaf people gather at Mayfair Banquets in Borivali, where they were welcomed with an aarti and tilak. This was followed by tea after which there was garba and dandiya where the best dancers were awarded. A prize was also given to the best dressed male and female revellers.

Games were played post the dance and prize-giving, after which there was a lucky draw which ensured that all those attending got a prize. Chhaya Wani, one of the organisers said, “We ended with dinner which is the novelty of our celebration. We don’t just have a dance, we also serve food and see to it that every member enjoys.” Hear, hear!

Go on a Shakespree!
With Vishal Bharadwaj’s Haider, his version of the play Hamlet, having hit the cinema halls, the Bard has gained in popularity somewhat. People are bringing to mind Bharadwaj’s earlier two Shakespearian productions, Omkara and Maqbool.

And in tune with the trend, the city’s Deepak Cinema at Lower Parel is screening not just Haider but also, at different show timings, Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (circa 1948).

So you can check out the iconic thespian’s portrayal of the tormented prince, as well as the Hindi incarnation. If that wasn’t enough, Deepak is also screening Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, which is an adaptation of another Shakespearean classic, Macbeth. We are humming, as we write: “Bard, Bard dekho...”

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