Mumbai Diary page: Thursday Theme

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

Garden of discontent
With open spaces and public recreational areas at a premium in our crowded city, it is truly a pity that places earmarked for relaxation are not maintained. Kamala Nehru Park at Malabar Hill, also known as the Hanging Gardens, is a case in point.

Will this fountain at Kamala Nehru Park ever see any water? Pic/Bipin Kokate
Will this fountain at Kamala Nehru Park ever see any water? Pic/Bipin Kokate

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has had an ambitious plan of theme parks in the city, but where it falls down is in implementation and maintenance, as well as security. Kamala Nehru Park has been long neglected, and visitors have complained that the fountain does not work, and the famous shoe of “old woman” fame is dirty and stained.

The BMC comes up with reports now and then about development of plots for parks and gardens, but the facts on the ground, as it were, tell a different story. Lakhs are spent on fountains, and technology for recycling water is available as well, but the BMC simply does not seem able to complete the task.

Garden Superintendent Vijay Hire at Kamala Nehru Park gave us the standard phrase in response: “We will look into the matter as we were not aware of the problem.” And the newly-elected Mayor says that new open spaces need to be developed, and existing gardens and playgrounds need to be maintained. “I will surely ask the BMC staff to take care of this.” Well, we hope she means it.

Dance or gymnastics?
The plethora of dance competitions on television sees gyrating couples (usually choreographer and celebrity partner) doing some truly gravity-defying moves on the dance floor, to Bollywood numbers. Ribbed bodies, including six-pack abs, take one back to the films of the 70s and 80s when dance was so different.

Tusshar Kapoor with father Jeetendra, who was famous for his white dancing shoes... and way more famous than Junior, we must say
Tusshar Kapoor with father Jeetendra, who was famous for his white dancing shoes... and way more famous than Junior, we must say

There was Mithun and his Elvis-the-pelvis moves and of course, Jumpin’ Jack Jeetu and his trademark white shoes. Even Madhuri Dixit, one of the three-person jury on a dance show, remarked once about how dance has changed in Bollywood through the years.

Today, dancers are doing a combination of gymnastics, flexibility routines, cardiovascular exercises and even some strength moves - and calling it dance. It led an old-timer to state simply: today’s dancing is not dancing, it is gymnastics. Wonder what the Jhalak jury, comprising Remo, Madhuri and Karan Johar, have to say to that?

The technological bubble
For many of us who went to the Bandra Fair as kids, the Mount Mary visit included the fun of soap bubbles. But when this diaryist visited the pilgrimage spot recently, the old bubble blowers and bottles of soap water had been replaced by bubble guns and machines.

These bubble guns are the new sheen of the fair
These bubble guns are the new sheen of the fair

Technology seems to have stepped in and done away with the effort of blowing bubbles. The machine way consists of dipping the contraption in soap water and obtaining a bunch of bubbles. And the bubble gun offers unlimited bubbles for near-zero effort.

There was only a solitary seller near the end of the Mount Mary steps, who was selling the old-school bubble blower. She said, “Hardly anyone wants to buy this for Rs 10. People prefer to spend Rs 50 for the bubble machine and Rs 75 for the gun. Those seem to be more appealing than this one.”

Birthday Boys
It was celebration time at the BMC’s Standing Committee meeting yesterday, being the birthday of both PM Narendra Modi and Juhu corporator Dilip Patel of the BJP. Patel distributed chocolate at the start of the meeting and, we could say, “perked” up the proceedings.

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