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Mumbai Diary page: Thursday Theme

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

Carry on, Kavi

We hear that India’s premier gay activist, who held the rainbow flag aloft on a lonely, less-trodden road all those years ago, is having sporadic health problems.

Mumbai’s Ashok Row Kavi has been struggling with fluctuating diabetes of late, but was seen at an event at a Bandra Kurla hotel yesterday afternoon. He was seen sipping soup.

Cheers to the man who once walked all alone with only the police for company to Sena Bhavan in Dadar, when the outfit had raised objections to the film Fire.

Today, he has the support of celebrities and others because gay rights has become a fashionable cause. It took immense courage to do what he did, so a doff of our hat, or cheers with the soup bowl to Kavi.

Fame in a name
A visitor to the city exclaimed to us, “There is a Times Square in Saki Naka!?” To which one of our colleagues wisecracked, “Yes, and they should have an Umpire State Building near Wankhede Stadium too.”

Art of Mumbai cricket
It's not a great time to turn on the bass and treble while singing Mumbai cricket’s praises. The Ranji Trophy side didn’t set the Wankhede Stadium on fire last season and the limited overs teams didn’t sing a winning tune too.

Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar

And how can the Indian Premier League be kept away from any cricket discussion? Yes, Mumbai Indians lost four games in a row before yesterday’s against Sunrisers.

But Sanjay Manjrekar, in an interview to thecricketcouch.com, provides a fine example on what Mumbai stalwarts expected from their younger players.

Manjrekar says, “All these stalwarts were always hanging around, watching the young talent. A few things that they always looked for was good technique in batsmen and big appetite for runs.

They were never pleased if you got out for 140 when you could get a double hundred. That is something that was drilled into us — once you are in, you have to get a big score.

The other thing about the Mumbai school of batting was that you have to be good against fast bowlers. Mumbai’s batting stalwarts always prided themselves on this fact, and then get the tough runs when it mattered the most.” How we hope the current lot turns it around. Ditto Mumbai Indians.

Making a difference
Young people are often called upon to be at the forefront of change, and that sort of thing. But it can be difficult to figure out how to put these ideals into practice.

The non-governmental organisation Praja Foundation (www.praja.org), which terms itself a civic watchdog, is providing an opportunity for young folks to make a difference, with their summer internships for college students from graduate and post-graduate courses.

The interns will help Praja in data collection and data analyses. They will also be involved in field work across Mumbai and will learn the procedures for filing Right to Information (RTI) applications, and how to interact with civic authorities.

Praja Foundation collects data on civic issues of Mumbai through RTI, analyses it and releases it in the public domain for higher accountability. It also organises discussions among the relevant stakeholders to help improve civic governance. So if you’re a student and you want a chance to shake things up in the city, write to info@praja.org.

The czar’s car
Not just the party’s legacy, but even the first car owned by late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray now belongs to his son Uddhav.

Bal Thackeray’s Contessa now rests in Sena Bhavan
Bal Thackeray’s Contessa now rests in Sena Bhavan

Bal Thackeray’s first ever car, a bullet-proof Contessa with the number plate bearing the year 1995 (the year he got it), has been transferred on Uddhav’s name. Previously, it is said that Thackeray used senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi’s car.

The Contessa is now parked at Sena Bhavan, on the first floor, and last year, its ownership was transferred to the name of Uddhav Thackeray.

According to Sena sources, the car will not be driven but will be preserved, as there are many memories associated with it for the Thackeray family.

Contributed by: Clayton Murzello, Hemal Ashar, Varun Singh, Vidya Heble

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