Mumbai Diary page: Tuesday Tales

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

Numbers game by BEST
Readers of this page probably know that we generally root for the city’s BEST bus service. It’s part of the Mumbai that we love, warts and all. But when BEST slips up, it deserves a rap on the knuckles even from us.

Pic/Datta KumbharPic/Datta Kumbhar

The other day we came across a man with his two children waiting at the Bharatmata Cinema bus stop on Jijibhai Lane, going southwards. They had been waiting for a good half an hour, until the father asked a nearby shopkeeper whether the 166 had already gone.

It turned out that although the stop displays 166 and various other bus route numbers, only two buses 61 and 64 actually pass that stop. The other buses do not take the turn onto that road, but carry on along Dr SS Rao Road which is perpendicular to it.

While the Wadala-Jacob’s Circle monorail construction is going on, the bus stop on Jijibhai Lane services only those buses (two) which turn left onto Dr Ambedkar Road.

Once the road is clear of the construction work, all these buses are supposed to resume plying along Jijibhai Lane. But till then, the BEST should not display route numbers erroneously and confuse passengers.

It’s the wrong bag
A recent television commercial (TVC) for a suitcase company features a scenario that is rather alarming. It’s something that we are warned about when taking public transport, and being suspicious in such a situation is almost second nature to us. Yet, it seems appropriate for this company to feature such a scenario.

The ad shows people on a ferry. Suddenly a carry-on bag lands on the deck of the vessel with a thump. Everyone is alarmed, but soon the bag is followed by its owner, a well-dressed young woman who has flung the bag onto the boat and follows it, leaping from the dock just as the ferry has left it. The tagline of the ad is “Fashionably late”.

Now, we know how pernicious is the influence of stunts in films and ads that is why there is a warning on daredevil scenes in ads, that they should not be imitated under any circumstances. So why is this scare-mongering being touted as “fashionable”? As it is, we have a rash of people getting grievously injured when trying to jump into moving trains (and sometimes even buses).

First of all it is wrong to encourage boarding of moving vehicles (or vessels, as the case may be). Moreover, making a ha-ha moment of the bag landing on deck and scaring the passengers just trivialises the real danger of unattended luggage in public transport that could, and sometimes does, conceal explosive material. Creativity is one thing, but we think a certain social responsibility goes along with it.

Poster? What poster?
Nothing seems to deter Mumbaikars from breaking the law and risking their lives to save a few minutes.

Commuters at Kurla putting their climbing skills to best use. Pic/Shakti Shetty
Commuters at Kurla putting their climbing skills to best use. Pic/Shakti Shetty

With the railway police statistics showing that about 3,600 people die and over 4,000 are injured every year on the tracks, public awareness against crossing railway tracks is certainly on a high.

These fairly graphic posters, showing the danger of trying to dodge trains, are everywhere. But obviously, the aam janata pays little attention to them.

Little bites, big fights
It's summer, and mosquitoes are biting, not just citizens but also the city’s two pillars the municipal corporation and the BEST.

With the monsoon around the corner, and the mosquito menace only set to get worse, the civic body and its undertaking are at loggerheads over fogging and pesticide spraying, one of the measures to keep the little blood-suckers under control.

The BEST, already making losses, is miffed that the BMC is charging Rs 1.06 crore from them for a year’s fogging and spraying of their 100-plus structures including offices, bus depots and residential complexes belonging to the BEST.

The BEST authorities feel that their parent organisation should not charge them. While the two spar, we hope the mozzies don’t take advantage of the distraction and go on a biting spree.

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