Mumbai Diary page: Tuesday Tales

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

In the name of...
City speedsters seldom realise that on a stretch of road peppered with traffic signals, no matter how fast they go they cannot get very far before they have to stop at a signal.

Of course, there are plenty who believe that red lights are for Christmas decorations and merrily jump them, but sometimes even they have to come to a halt not out of concern for the law, or fellow-motorists, or even hapless pedestrians, but simply because the signal is monitored by the traffic police.

Just the other day an SUV with four or five people in it was speeding on a busy arterial road, weaving through traffic and coming close to a smash-up once or twice. The vehicle had the name of a deity painted on it, a fact which apparently did not go unobserved by another driver on that road. Eventually the SUV came to a halt at a traffic signal, and the other driver happened to pull up next to it.

Tuesday Tales was in the passenger seat of the other car, hence we were witness to the driver tell the speedsters, "What is the use of taking god's name when you drive like the devil?" But the SUV's windows were shut, its airconditioning keeping the hotheads cool. So we think that remark fell on deaf ears.

Gasping for breath at Vidhan Bhavan
The 20-storey Vidhan Bhavan located at Nariman Point houses the state legislature and its secretariat, with the permanent offices of the presiding officers and leader of the opposition.

The legislature makes laws and rules that facilitate the governance and stringent legislations to control anti-social activities and all this hard work seems to be leaving officials breathless, literally.

The officials say they feel suffocated due to a lack of oxygen, and they have installed expensive machines that spray oxygen into the air. This, despite the fact that the building is centrally air-conditioned. Whether it is the AC or the O, we hope the officials are now feeling invigorated and working with gusto.

Where there’s a Hills…
The hills are alive with the… sound of music? Not really, but the voices of residents. Mumbai's swish Malabar Hill area is out with a bulletin called The Voice of Malabar Hills which gives news about the area. The Voice of Malabar Hills arrives at residents' homes with their newspapers every month.

Some tranquillity at Malabar Hill
Some tranquillity at Malabar Hill

In the bulletin we scanned, we found a piece on the hazards of mobile tower radiation, especially for babies incidentally, the area has several well-known anti-mobile tower radiation activists like actor Juhi Chawla and Prakash Munshi. There is a piece on Love Grove pumping station and a snippet on a snack vendor who still sells the old-fashioned way, door-to-door, in this age of retail.

The editor is Tushar Prabhoo and the edit page says that the focus of the publication is on issues affecting residents of Malabar Hills, even though they may not have great relevance in this city of millions.

It urges residents to advertise in the newspaper and make this venture self-supporting. The ad rates are competitive at not-so-Malabar-Hills prices. All in all, an interesting smorgasbord of SoBo and an enterprising initiative, from Mumbai's very own Beverly Hills.

Swimming with the fishes
Taraporevala Aquarium in the city has its board and lights up and switched on, but its renovation work is far from complete and is still more than two months from completion.

Taraporevala Aquarium, which has been under renovation
Taraporevala Aquarium, which has been under renovation

A Maharashtra state fisheries official says, "The Public Works Department (PWD) is in charge of the internal and external maintenance work. The fish tanks are not yet ready. The plan is to bring colourful fish from abroad and put them in the tanks. A few indigenous fish will also be on show."

We have missed our occasional excursions to the aquarium, where we would gaze at the fish gazing at us, and then go enjoy the delights of Chowpatty. But it looks like we will have to pine a little longer.

After the PWD gives possession of the aquarium to the fisheries department, the aquarium authorities will need at least two months to get the fish acclimatised to the Indian waters and climate.

The official adds, "Only after all the fish adapt to the tanks here will we be able to open the aquarium to the public. Though the external structure is almost ready, the aquarium will not open till the fish are comfortable in their tanks. We hope this will happen by the end of August." We hope so, too!

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