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Mumbai Diary page: Thursday Theme

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

Film-flam in the carriage
You're sitting between two hefty men in the second class compartment of a local train. There’s no space left for the imaginary fourth seat. To kill time, you take out your tablet and start watching Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, unpausing it from where you last left it. Within seconds, three additional pairs of eyeballs are fixed on your itty-bitty screen. Blame it on the irresistible magic of animation.

As the film moves on from one fascinating frame to another, none of the three bother to check which station the train has reached. And then, the inevitable happens. The tablet begins blinking at you, reminding you that the battery is low. You keep clicking the ‘OK’ button as stylishly as the villains in a Hollywood franchise die.

After all, you don’t want to disappoint your newfound fellow-cinephiles. Regardless, the tablet shuts down. You act cool but on either side you hear “Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.” And a neck cracks somewhere, as if you rudely woke up babies from a long, peaceful slumber.

Twin cities?
It was way back in the ‘90s that city adman Alyque Padamsee, interviewed in a UAE-based magazine, had said Dubai is just a suburb of Mumbai. There was no social media back then to unleash a storm of twittering disapproval, otherwise one (or both) of the cities might have taken umbrage at his remark. The fact is however that amchi Mumbai sometimes follows in the footsteps of the desert haven, what with growing glitz and glamour in every corner.

This page had speculated on the possibility of Mumbai having its own Dubai-style Mall of the World, and we won’t be surprised if it actually happens not too far into the future. Looking at some of the buildings and malls that are reshaping the landscape, there are parts of Mumbai that could already be mistaken for Dubai or Singapore. And mall managements seem to be aware of the trend, going by the increasingly lavish promotions we are seeing.

One Thane mall (which is itself as big as a small village) has, a la Dubai and Singapore, put up a swank luxury car in its lucky draw which ends on Friday — apparently the offer will leave the winner beaming, as it were. Well, that takes care of the gloss. Now, if only our citizens would follow suit, maintain rules and keep public places clean...

Heavy Lifters
We were in a taxi the other day, when we saw a loaded handcart being pulled and pushed by hamaals straining their sinews. When we expressed sympathy for their plight, the taxi driver informed us that they were actually struggling because the cart was overloaded beyond its capacity. “They’re trying to save on trips, but paying the price,” he remarked.

City gritty, but no takers!
After citizen groups in Mumbai demanded that the municipal corporation should involve the public in drafting the new land use map for the city, the BMC had started ward-level consultation programmes. But it’s one thing to get a victory on paper, and quite another to follow through with it.

The use of open spaces is one of the bones of contention in the development plan. File pic for representation
The use of open spaces is one of the bones of contention in the development plan. File pic for representation

On the first day of the session for discussions and suggestions on the Development Plan (DP), the response from people was lukewarm, to say the least. Discussions were held on Monday for wards A (CST, Colaba), M-East (Govandi) and P-North (Malad) were held, but apart from Malad, very few people from the other two wards showed interest. C’mon Mumbaikars, the city needs you!

What’s in a tricolour?
Come Independence Day, patriotic fervour begins to rise in our good citizens. Some who are on social media have been urging others to put up an image of the national tricolour as their profile picture, and this has gone around on messaging apps as well. Following this, other users sent out a message that such depiction is against the rules under the Flag Code.

Then, someone did their homework and a message went around that the amended Flag Code does not prohibit people from displaying the tricolour on special days. Finally one smart aleck remarked that if everyone had the tricolour as their profile, all would “look” the same. “A message intended for the girlfriend may go to the wife. Then along with India, husbands will also get ‘freedom’,” said the message cheekily.

The Flag Code was however last amended in 2002, and has not kept up with the digital times. Maybe it needs to be updated, to cover such factors as Facebook statuses and profile pictures! Meanwhile, for those wondering about the significance of the National Flag’s colours, the Press Information Bureau says that according to Dr S Radhakrishnan, our first Vice-President, “Bhagwa or the saffron colour denotes renunciation or disinterestedness. Our leaders must be indifferent to material gains and dedicate themselves to their work.

The white in the centre is light, the path of truth to guide our conduct. The green shows our relation to the soil, our relation to the plant life here on which all other life depends. The Ashoka wheel in the centre of the white is the wheel of the law of dharma. Truth or satya, dharma or virtue ought to be the controlling principles of all those who work under this flag.

Again, the wheel denotes motion. There is death in stagnation. There is life in movement. India should no more resist change, it must move and go forward. The wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful change and hence, this deviation does not revolt against the original idea of having a spinning-wheel in the National Flag.”

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