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Mumbai Diary page: Tuesday Tales

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

Ticket to ride
Like everybody else, they too are waiting for the rain. For 24 years now, the Gulf Monsoon Scooter Rally has been a fixture on the city’s two-wheeler calendar.

An earlier edition of the monsoon scooter rally
An earlier edition of the monsoon scooter rally

This time too, the scooter rally is open to all Indian-made scooters, two-stroke, four-stroke as well as gearless. Scheduled to be held in Mumbai on Sunday, July 6, with a flag off from Our Lady’s Home in Parel at 8.30 am and end at K Star Hotel in CBD Belapur.

However, with Mumbai still dry and rain yet to come, how is this a monsoon scooter rally? The skill of the riders is tested during the monsoon, where negotiating rain-slicked roads and terrain full of slush is particularly challenging.

This monsoon rally though is going ahead as of now, with no change in date. Meanwhile, one thinks even the rally organisers, Shrikant Karani & Co, must be praying for the rain, just like a million other Indians, all for different reasons.

Higher than the sky
He is the nameless face of this heartless city, and this is what he does when he goes to work every day... puts his life at serious risk so that hoarding companies and advertisers can rake in the moolah to tempt consumers who in turn spend it on products that hypnotise them on giant hoardings like this.

Safety standards are on paper for this worker. Pic/Carol Lobo
Safety standards are on paper for this worker. Pic/Carol Lobo

He has no harness, no hard hat, no safety equipment at all. And we are willing to bet that his employer or contractor, as the case may be has not insured him against injury or loss of life. In a world which is increasingly aware about basic human rights, a sight like this in the middle of our city SV Road between Bandra and Khar, to be precise is simply unconscionable.

As if the dizzying height is not enough, take the wind factor up there into account. We wonder how he managed this mind-boggling feat and still climbed down safely.

Auto trouble at Versova
The Versova Andheri Ghatkopar metro corridor is certainly helpful to the public, but the residents of the Seven Bungalows area are unhappy with a political party’s plans to set up a new autorickshaw stand a few metres away from the Versova metro station.

The existing autorickshaw stand
The existing autorickshaw stand

With a rickshaw stand existing, residents feel that the new stand will create traffic issues and also increase harassment of women. They have written to the police, the metro authorities and the local MLA and MP.

One of the residents of the area explained, “The main gate of our society is exactly adjacent to the entry and exit points of Versova metro station exit gate no 6. Over the last two weeks, several illegally parked autorickshaws have been causing a major nuisance outside the society gate.

The residents holding a protest. Pics/Ranjeet Jadhav
The residents holding a protest. Pics/Ranjeet Jadhav

To the best of our knowledge a political party union wants to open a sharing autorickshaw stand outside our gate but it does not have permission. There is already a rickshaw stand near Bon-Bon junction which is a few metres away from out building, so the traffic and police department should take action against those illegal sharing rickshaws that are parked outside our building.”

Another resident added, “Our society gate is the school bus pickup and drop point for many small school-going children and it has become impossible for women and senior citizens to even come out of our society gate, due to fear of accidents, eve-teasing etc.

Often, school buses are blocked by the autos.” Public transport including rickshaws are meant to help people, not hinder and endanger them. Are you listening, authorities?

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