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Mumbai Diary page: Thursday theme

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

Polo power
Polo season is back in Mumbai with a match on Friday at the polo ground deep inside the Mahalaxmi racecourse, followed by another on Saturday, March 22, played by the Amateur Riders Club (ARC) against Argentina. Polo debutantes, you may be excused if you look suitably baffled at the fast-paced game on the course in front of you.


Polo season opens this week

Except for some in the spectator stands, most are ignorant about the rules of polo. Yet, for Mumbai’s swish set this is a social occasion, so don your dark glasses (polo is held in the sweltering afternoons at Mahalaxmi), stylish yet comfortable shoes and flash some cool summer style at your polo experience. If you really want to get into the mood, wear a Ralph Lauren Polo piece of apparel. So apt, dahling.

Confused commuters
Deploying Home Guards and police personnel in women’s compartments is meant to keep commuters safe from potential attacks. Right? Not according to some women commuters in the 8.40pm Karjat fast.

Home Guard Prakash Andhale, who was verbally harassed by the woman commuter. Pic/Kranti Vibhute
Home Guard Prakash Andhale, who was verbally harassed by the woman commuter. Pic/Kranti Vibhute

As always, squabbles break out between commuters over seats and space, and are usually resolved (or not) after much mutual name-calling, with the arguments sometimes lasting till the end of the line. The guard on duty has to turn a deaf ear to the ruckus because his attention needs must be elsewhere.

So this diarist was astonished when recently a woman in her 50s began pushing the Home Guard on duty in the compartment, out onto the platform at Dadar station, accusing him of not doing his job. She demanded proof that the guard was in fact on duty there, and was not satisfied even when the police personnel at the platform confirmed this.

She continued haranguing the guard intermittently all the way till Dombivili, where she alighted. However, just before reaching the station she had dialled the police helpline from her mobile phone, so when the train pulled in at Dombivili, police rushed up to the women’s compartment.

The woman continued her tirade against the Home Guard and insisted that the police book him. For what? According to her, for not intervening in the seat-sharing dispute! Fortunately for the guard, the police did not book him, but when last seen they were giving the woman a patient hearing. At least she can’t complain about that!

Rail recreation
Though it has been more than a month since monorail services were rolled out in the city, it is still a novelty for Mumbaikars.

Kids enjoy the Monorail
Kids enjoy the Monorail

When one of our colleagues took the monorail at Chembur recently, several fellow commuters were taking pictures of the sleek blue train. The in-car announcements were accompanied by the background beeps of mobile phone cameras. After the stuffy, overcrowded local trains, a monorail trip must come as a breath of fresh air.

Hot stuff
Wonder whether retired batting icon Sachin Tendulkar is one who keeps a date-wise record of his achievements. If he does, then he’d have marked down today - March 20 -when he scored a fine hundred against Australia at his favourite Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, in 2001.

Sachin Tendulkar plays a delicate leg-side shot off an Aussie bowler during the Chennai Test of the India vs Australia series on March 20, 2001. Pic/Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar plays a delicate leg-side shot off an Aussie bowler during the Chennai Test of the India vs Australia series on March 20, 2001. Pic/Getty Images

Day Three of the third and final Test match of the series was a heated affair on the weather and temperament front. And while Tendulkar was his cool self on the field against the likes of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne, he appeared to be annoyed after stumps were drawn when a journalist asked him how he felt scoring a hundred after “quite some time”.

Tendulkar exploded: “I think you are out of touch.” The scribe was indeed out of touch, because the batting great’s last three-figure Test effort was a double century in the last game of the previous series. Of course, Tendulkar can now look back and smile about his ‘lost it’ moment.

Safety first
Much as the city’s BEST bus service is under attack for falling standards, there are still enough drivers and conductors who maintain standards, and beneath the bluster they are “nice guys”, as we recently heard. One of our colleagues was returning home from work by bus, when the conductor rang the bell to halt the bus just after it had pulled out from a stop.

Three young men who had boarded the bus were hanging off from the rear door, perched on the footboard. The bus was relatively empty at that time, so there was no reason for them to indulge in this risky behaviour - they were just doing it for a bit of fun, as they explained to the conductor.

But that wise man (doing his grey hair credit) insisted that their actions were unsafe, and said the bus would not move until they came inside. “When the bus is full even I can’t do anything,” he said. “But if one of you fall, it will be on my conscience.” This argument persuaded the youths to move into the bus and each took a window seat, cooling off in the breeze.

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