Mumbai Diary page: Tuesday Tales

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

What’s in a name?
Plenty, to answer the question, especially when you bear the moniker that is heard everywhere, whether in a good light or not. And when that name is one that gets “borrowed” for mileage, the original claimants naturally will be up in arms.

But the Bharatiya Janata Party had a shock when it turned out recently that there is nothing it can do about party leader and PM-aspirant Narendra Modi’s name being used by Nationalist Congress Party candidate Praful Patel.

BJP leaders from Bhandra-Gondia constituency had complained that Patel’s manifesto, released exclusively for the constituency, carried a picture of Modi which was confusing voters.

But when the party approached state election officer Nitin Gadre, they were told that neither the rules in the Representation of Peoples Act nor the code of conduct prevents anybody from using pictures or the name of a leader from a rival party.

When the party had similarly thrown a tantrum over the Raj Thackeray-led MNS’s attempt to hijack Modi by using the BJP leader’s images and his name in campaign rallies, it had received no response from the Election Commission. It turns out there is not much they can do!

Time just floats away
Sometimes the wait is longer than the reward. Our colleague went boating with family at Talao Pali (Masunda Lake) in Thane over the weekend. After buying the Rs 15 tickets, the passengers sat in the boat, which could hold more than 20 persons. However, the boat showed no signs of moving even after 15 minutes of waiting.

One of the people in the stern (rear) of the boat got anxious and called out to the man in the bow (extreme front) of the boat, asking him to start the ride as the boat was full.

However, the man turned around and said, “I am also sitting here with a ticket like you!” The boat’s pilot may have heard this exchange and turned up shortly thereafter — taking the passengers for a ride that lasted all of 10 minutes.

Neta natter in high places
A politician and also a woman. That was the lesson one learnt at a recent interactive election meet at Altamount Road in Mumbai. When Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Meera Sanyal arrived at the venue, some women were overheard complimenting Sanyal on her attire.

Sanyal of the gorgeous sari. Pics/Atul Kamble

“What a lovely sari,” one could hear. One wonders whether our gals in Parliament chatter like this. Saris — so much more interesting than policies. Meanwhile, one saw Prakash Munshi, prominent activist against radiation from mobile towers, at the meet.

P Munshi (l) with Capt. A Batra (r) and Arvind Sawant (extreme r)
P Munshi (l) with Capt. A Batra (r) and Arvind Sawant (extreme r)

When this reporter ribbed Munshi and asked him to come out with some SoBo gossip, Munshi replied, “Gossip, why should I give you gossip? I am not a woman.” Oh-oh, Munshiji, no stereotyping here, you may get tried and fried and that is not from mobile tower radiation.

Meanwhile, on the way out of the meeting, AAP supporters were singing ‘Vande mataram’, and raising slogans, “Pehle goron se ladhe, abhi choron se ladhe (first we fought against the whites, now we fight against the thieves.”

Just a suggestion to this patriotic party. Now that AAP candidate Sanyal’s sari has received compliments, maybe they could also sing: ‘Sari jahaan se acchha’.

AAP supporters were also handing out white Gandhi caps with the AAP insignia to departing guests. They handed out a cap to a Caucasian man who was passing by, who said in some alarm (maybe his first taste of election fever, desi style), “Hey, hey, I am a foreigner. I cannot vote.”

Auto courtesy, strike no bar
During the recent strike by the city’s BEST bus staff, taxi and autorickshaw drivers made the most of the sticky situation that commuters found themselves in. Some managed to organise car pools, but most hapless commuters had little choice but to take the black-and-yellow option.

And we were not surprised to hear that many people were overcharged by unscrupulous drivers. But an incident that a friend of Tuesday Tales narrated shows that even in the face of a potential windfall, there were those who believed in honesty.

Our friend was picking up her daughter from class, and saw an empty autorickshaw just before she went in to get her daughter. She asked the rickshaw driver to wait as it would be only a few minutes till she returned.

But when she went inside, the teacher had something to discuss with her and it was about 10 minutes later that she emerged with her daughter, fully expecting that the rickshaw would have moved on and that she would have a frustrating hunt for another.

To her delight, however, the rickshaw driver was waiting, reading a newspaper to pass the time, and had not even started the meter.

When our friend asked why he had not picked up another passenger and gone his way, he replied matter-of-factly, “But I told you I will wait for you. So I waited.” A doff of our hat to the auto-wallah, and we hope to see more like him!

Contributed by: Sachin Kalbag, Ravikiran Deshmukh, Hemal Ashar, Richa Pinto, Vidya Heble

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