Mumbai Diary page: Tuesday Tales

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

Twice bitten
It was irritating to be sure, to see a fast-food chain advertising burgers that their models were not even biting into.

The ad campaign was slickly done but clearly, the people in it were not biting the burgers, and their chewing was so patently fake that we are not surprised the campaign has ended without going on and on, as they tend to do.

But alas, its replacement looks like something that’s even worse. This new campaign for the same fast-food chain shows a range of burgers so spicy, that they make people who eat them break into song.

So what’s wrong with that? Nothing, except that in their zeal - perhaps - to show that their models really are eating their product, the ad shows them going “Aaah” etc with their mouths open, full of the food they have just taken a bite of! So, from the Uff of the previous campaign, it’s Ugh to this one. Will they ever get it right? We wonder.

Sorry, you’ve not served
On Saturday, just before mid-day won a few trophies at the Red Ink Awards for Excellence in Journalism, there was a panel discussion moderated by Uday Shankar of Star at the event.

Uday Shankar (second from left) with the other panellists. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Uday Shankar (second from left) with the other panellists. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Uday, as this diarist has noted, is a media intellectual’s media intellectual. He knows the business, and more important, he knows how to talk about the business.

He, therefore, made for an excellent anchor in a panel that included Arnab Goswami of Times Now and Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN-IBN, along with the passionate voices of Kumar Ketkar and ad personality Piyush Pandey. Despite the odds stacked against him in the decibel category, he held the fort admirably.

But this diarist is also a tennis fan. Which is why he was a bit upset when Uday contrasted the polling strategy excellence of Narendra Modi against the lack of it of Rahul Gandhi, by comparing the two to Roger Federer and Leander Paes. “There is no contest between the two,” he said.

We allowed ourselves a tear. While it is true that Federer is an all-time great and there are very few, save Rafael Nadal, Rod Laver and Pete Sampras to challenge him in the Greatest of All Time contest, Paes is not a greenhorn either.

Federer has won 17 Grand Slam singles, but Paes has won 14 Doubles and Mixed Doubles Grand Slam titles. At 40, last year, he became the oldest person to win the men’s doubles title at the US Open. He has 53 doubles ATP titles. He has also won a bronze at the 1996 Olympics as a singles player.

And if he had continued his partnership with Mahesh Bhupathi, who knows how many more titles he’d have won? Shankar was possibly referring to Federer’s greatness as a singles player, but then, he does not even come close to Paes when it comes to doubles greatness.

So, Uday, no, Leander Paes was perhaps the wrong example to give. If you had to give an Indian tennis player’s name to compare, we’d have even settled with, say, Somdev Devvarman. No?

Cell function
In a world where there is an overload of sensory stimulation, where the brain seems inundated with an information blitzkrieg it is important to clear the clutter, sharpen memory and help you focus. This goes for everybody.

Milind Soman (left) running in the Mumbai Marathon this year. Soman raises awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS)
Milind Soman (left) running in the Mumbai Marathon this year. Soman raises awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS)

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of India, Mumbai chapter is holding an informative and interactive session on Brain Rhyme by Sushant Mysorekar. The mission of Brain Rhyme, the society says, is to provide training for the use of the brain which includes memory enhancement, dealing with learning disability and preparing for a competitive exam.

The event is to be held on Saturday, June 28, from 4pm to 6pm at the Rotary Garden For the Differently Abled, at Wadala Station (. For registrations call: Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI), Mumbai Chapter. Tel: 24037390 / 7399

Home away from...
Residents of Mumbai are familiar with countless fellow city-dwellers sleeping on the pavement. Well, it seems London has a similar problem, and a swank block of flats has put up metal spikes on the ground outside its walls, to deter homeless snoozers. Outrage has erupted, and an e-petition started by a mental health nurse has gained more than 7,000 signatures till date. If only there were a universal solution to this global issue.

New train tracks take shape
Last week, a new landmark was achieved on the Central Railway. In the process of laying the fifth and sixth railway tracks between Diva and Thane, the bridge across Thane creek which will carry these tracks was successfully installed.

The new tracks will reduce commuters’ travel time. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
The new tracks will reduce commuters’ travel time. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

It was no mean feat, taking two days, as the whole thing weighs several hundred tonnes. Sleepers, tracks and other material has yet to be put into place, and eventually long-distance trains will be able to go straight from Kurla to Kalyan, with four lines being separate for the suburban section.

This in effect frees up two lines entirely, so commuters can look forward to fewer (we hope zero) delays, and speedier journeys.

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