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Mumbai Diary page: Thursday Theme

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

Metro benefit
Andheri East generally has an autorickshaw queue and on days that there isn’t one, getting a “rick” is a troublesome affair.

Autorickshaws have new competition in the form of the metro. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Autorickshaws have new competition in the form of the metro. Pic/Nimesh Dave

On Monday at around 10.30 pm there was no rickshaw queue at the customary place outside the station, and after many rickshaws refused to stop, one finally stopped and happily agreed to take this diarist to JB Nagar.

The rickshaw driver wanted to know why I was opting to take a rickshaw over the metro. I explained that it was late and so I didn’t want to take the metro.

The rickshaw driver went on to say, “Madam, I would have refused your fare but I decided to take you because I was curious to know why someone is taking a rickshaw to a place that the metro goes to.

Now no one takes rickshaws, they prefer to commute by metro and our business has been badly affected.” Dare we say that this sounds like poetic justice for the pricey rickshawallahs?

Vows with a kick
And we heard the other day about this couple who got married recently. The groom is a die-hard football fan, so their honeymoon is being spent in you guessed it Brazil, where the soccer nuts come from.

It’s not so fine
A broken handle led Thursday Theme to change their handbag mid-week. Women readers of this page will know that this means the emptying out of an assortment of things, most of them useful, from one bag to another.

And unfortunately for us, our railway pass was one of the things that got left out from the new bag. (We believe the pass is laughing quietly at us from between the sofa cushions.) And as luck would have it, when we alighted at Dadar, on the fast platform, there was the ticket-checker with a sweet smile, asking for our pass.

We had to pay the fine, of course. Adding to our woes was the fact that we had “shared” the first-class compartment with a woman who was dressed shabbily, appeared to be inebriated, and was making threatening gestures to the other commuters.

Some of the commuters asked how come the TC was asking for everyone else’s passes and tickets, but not that woman’s. The TC appeared to have not noticed her, and said, “What woman?” although she had alighted along with the other passengers and had made her (unaccosted) way off along the platform. What do we call that? Tunnel vision?

Hit the road, literally
Travellers catching the MSRTC or Shivneri buses in Navi Mumbai have no bus stop to wait at. Instead, they hail the bus on the road. Not just that, the controller has no office to sit in either, and has to make do with this ramshackle shed.

Passengers waiting for the MSRTC buses at Kharghar, while the shed can be seen on the left. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
Passengers waiting for the MSRTC buses at Kharghar, while the shed can be seen on the left. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

To make matters worse, the area is littered with garbage thrown randomly by people from the nearby hotels and restaurants. We are sort of accustomed to shabby service from government-run organisations but surely there is a limit to how bad it can get?

What shall we call the SCLR?
Politicians are probably the most interested parties when it comes to the naming of major roads (and minor ones too, not to mention the odd chowk here and there).

In all likelihood, this will continue to be referred to as the SCLR
In all likelihood, this will continue to be referred to as the SCLR

For us common people, names like the Bandra-Worli Sea Link or Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road are good enough, though these have “official” names that have been forgotten after the plaque-unveiling has made the news pages.

The most recent target for renaming is the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR), which, the Bharatiya Janata Party says, should be named after the late Union Rural Development Minister, Gopinath Munde.

BJP corporator Dilip Patel has written to Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who heads the MMRDA, suggesting the renaming. Incidentally the SCLR is probably the world’s most delayed project, so we’re not sure whether associating with it is to be craved.

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