Mumbai Diary page: Sunday shorts
Batting for Tony Greig
On Saturday, our in-house cricket memorabilia collector acquired a world famous Gray Nicolls bat (in pic below), which was endorsed by former England captain Tony Greig, who succumbed to cancer in late 2012.
Our man is embarrassed to tell us how much he paid for it. Cheap or dear? Our guess tilts towards the latter.
What does he plan to do with it apart from displaying it in his bat cabinet at home? Well, for one, he may get it autographed by all the great batsmen who at one point in their international careers used Gray Nicolls — Ian and Greg Chappell, Clive Lloyd, Gordon Greenidge, GR Vishwanath, and yes, current BCCI boss, Sunil Gavaskar.
Making up this XI won’t be a task, he assures.
Trains for senior citizens?
Is Mumbai suited for senior citizens? This question sprang up when two elderly gentlemen were heard talking on a railway platform about how it has become difficult to venture out without getting ‘pushed and shoved’ by the ‘younger lot’. One of them turned his attention to the train and asked, “Why don’t we have a special local train for oldies? They have several for women, right?” Mallikarjun Kharge, are you listening? FYI, India’s railway minister is 72.
Horsepower: A race in progress at the Mahalaxmi Race Course, which marks a milestone today
The stray dogs of Mumbai would like to thank Rocky (in pic below). He is the brave stray who chased away a leopard that had entered Hill View building, Borivli, near Sanjay Gandhi National Park recently. In doing so, he became the hero for all stray dogs residing in colonies across the city. After Rocky’s brave act, instances of feeding strays in compounds and ‘tolerating’ them have grown. This diarist was witness to the rising goodwill in his locality and was surprised to see a couple, usually indifferent to strays, feeding a bunch of them recently. When a shocked neighbour went to protest, the couple retorted, saying, “Arre, they will protect us. Haven’t you read about the dog who chased away a leopard?” This left the neighbour stumped and the dogs well-fed. This diarist hopes that this bonhomie and bonding lasts a little longer and strays everywhere are seen in this ‘new’ role of night-guards.
With the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) marking 130 years today (Sunday, March 30), this is as good a time as ever to recount a favourite Mahalaxmi racecourse anecdote. So if you have not heard this one, here goes. Many years ago, when racing was not reported in every newspaper, a racing correspondent from a top national newspaper arrived at the racecourse to report on yet another racing meet. The security personnel at the gate, who did not recognise the journalist asked him for his press badge. The racing writer was offended that he was not recognised and loftily told him that he did not have his press badge. “Then, sir, you will have to buy a ticket to enter,” said the guard shrugging. Now, the journalist, one of India’s few racing writers at that time, was even more offended. He leant close to the security guard and said, “My face is my ticket to this racecourse.” To that, the quick-witted guard replied, “Well, I do not know about that, sir, but I have instructions to punch all tickets.”