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Mumbai Diary page: Thursday theme

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

Running into that glass ceiling
Three years ago, an overseas visitor present at a Mumbai Marathon press conference had remarked, “Boom, the running revolution has arrived in India.

Exercise is important, but so is safety! (File picture for representation)
Exercise is important, but so is safety! (File picture for representation)

Everywhere you see, people are jogging and running.” Perhaps the most potent symbol of that statement is the sheer fact of the number of women one sees now, running and jogging on pavements and in parks.

It was not too long ago that women joggers, even in this city, faced verbal molestation from men who would pass comments, often lewd, about their appearance.

A far cry was the scene yesterday morning when a fair number of women were seen jogging outside Shivaji Park and on the park’s periphery.

The roads which have been male joggers’ territory are now getting an egalitarian flavour — although it is still a way to go before women can jog at night and feel safe. May the movement to reclaim public space gain momentum, one jogging step at a time!

Danger in the darkness
Skywalk or white elephant? This is the question that some of the city’s little-used skywalks make us ask, as they end up harbouring vagrants and miscreants.

The skywalk at Andheri East, which is in complete darkness in places
The skywalk at Andheri East, which is in complete darkness in places

The skywalk at Andheri East is one example, and is a prime potential location for crime because of the patches of darkness due to non-functioning tubelights on its north side.

After sunset, the skywalk which has not a single light in a stretch of more than 500 metres, is now the venue for a group of boys who harass commuters using the skywalk. These boys take advantage of the darkness to heckle and make catcalls at people who are on their way home after 9pm.

The lone securityman on duty told this diarist that keeping troublemakers away is practically impossible “I am one man and it is really tough. When I am at one end of the skywalk, these boys cause havoc at the other.

If the authorities could install new tubelights that work, this problem would be alleviated. These errant boys are taking advantage of the darkness to make trouble.”

Party peck
The news of Rakhi Sawant contesting the Lok Sabha elections has thrown open the field for barbs and jibes, as one may expect. One wag remarked on Twitter, “Why not Sunny Leone?” To which another wit replied, “Then we would have not Ragini MMS but ‘Rakhi MMS’.”

Potshots at potholes
While the promises and “vision statements” have begun flying thick and fast in the run-up to the polls, it’s a far cry from on-stage speeches to on-ground realities, such as this open manhole on the road between Mulund and Thane Belapur, which ultimately connects to Pune.

An accident waiting to happen. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
An accident waiting to happen. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

A couple of stones and a dried palm frond mark the spot. As citizens of Mumbai know all too well, this is but one example — pick any road in the city and chances are that there’s a hole in it. Are the wannabe leaders listening? Or looking?

Disruptive rise
This April, along with the scorching summer, most Indians will have to also contend with the heat and dust of the general elections. Naturally, we noticed a mention in an e-catalogue of books that arrived recently in our inbox.

Going by the hype, The Disrupter: Arvind Kejriwal and the Audacious Rise of the Aam Aadmi by Gautam Chikermane and Soma Banerjee (Rupa & Co) should make for an engaging read, we think.

The book chronicles the meteoric rise of the Aam Aadmi Party and calls Arvind Kejriwal “the iconoclast, leader and disrupter par excellence”, to quote from the blurb about this soon-to-be-released title. We sure would like to see the newly-anointed Benarasi babu’s reaction to this new moniker. Aam-used, perhaps?

Contributed by: Fiona Fernandez, Shrikant Khuperkar, Hemal Ashar, Maleeva Rebello, Vidya Heble

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