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Mumbai Diary page: Saturday Scene

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

‘Local’ hero
Sometimes trinket sellers can be a hindrance to movement in train compartments, but they can also turn knights in shining armour, as happened recently in a local train on the Central line.

A scruffy, dubious-looking man clambered into the ladies’ first class compartment at Ghatkopar. As the train sped towards Vikhroli, the women in the compartment looked at him in distaste and some fear but did not quite know what to do.

A trinket seller then cornered the man, insisting that he alight at Vikhroli station. Some words were exchanged but the trinket seller stood his ground. He actually saw to it that Mr. Unwanted got off at Vikhroli, before moving on to sell his brightly coloured wares elsewhere.

In a city where people refuse to be drawn into any confrontation which does not directly concern them, and an attitude of let’s-not-get-involved prevails, he showed rare courage and tenacity. Let’s hear it for this chivalrous special!

Push comes to shove
There is more to the cop on the street than meets the eye. We have heard about traffic police personnel who come to the aid of people in medical distress. And there was the stellar policeman who, during a massive traffic jam, lent his motorcycle to ensure a youth reached his exam centre on time.

Your friendly nakabandi-duty policeman can be a friend in need. Pic/Nikesh Gurav
Your friendly nakabandi-duty policeman can be a friend in need. Pic/Nikesh Gurav

And much as we may rant and rave at the men in uniform, let’s not forget that they have a hard time just doing their jobs, not counting having to deal with obstinate and obstructive people as well as troublemakers. But when someone is in trouble, the police are generally willing to lend a hand, as this photo shows.

The driver was stuck during a nakabandi in the Girgaum area, and the cops on duty did their bit to move the vehicle out of the way. Of course, this was in their own interest but they could just have insisted that the driver solve the problem on his own.

Idol talk?
The Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL), part of the University of Mumbai, recently released figures showing how distance learning is becoming more popular, with special focus on the increasing number of female candidates.

Oddly enough, however, one of the highlights of the release was that of the total candidates, 176 were divorcees and widows/widowers. To be precise, 14 male and 82 female divorcees as well as 5 widowers and 55 widows are studying through distance learning this year. Is this a new method of “encouraging” candidates?

After cleaning-up - what?
During the recent outburst of collective zeal over cleaning up public places, we saw plenty of broom-wielding brigades marching around and taking care not to miss photo-ops whenever possible.

The debris will probably be cleared eventually but till then, it is an added hindrance for commuters. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
The debris will probably be cleared eventually but till then, it is an added hindrance for commuters. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

Official premises including railway stations and station masters’ offices etc were not spared the clean-up, and for some it was a good opportunity to get some new furniture and have repairs done where required.

But in many cases, the clean drive resulted in pile-up of the removed debris elsewhere! One example is Bhandup station, where, at one end, a mound of broken office furniture and other junk speaks for itself.

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