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Mumbai Diary page: Tuesday Tales

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

Twilight years at others’ mercy
In our golden years, we expect to be taken care of by the children we have raised. At least, we would expect, or rather hope, to spend our old age in peace and relative comfort. But for this woman in Dombivili, her old age consists of waking up in the morning, getting ready, and heading out to beg for her living.

She makes even begging seem dignified. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
She makes even begging seem dignified. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

Her serene face and smiling countenance drew us, and upon enquiry we found out that she is around 90, and has family, but no one really looks after her as such. “My son has just left me to my own devices,” she said. “So I beg for some time in the mornings, and that is enough to maintain me for the day.” It is particularly poignant to hear such a story, that too during Navratri when people are worshipping Devi, the goddess, who is revered as “Ma” or mother.

Words’ worth from Lataji
She did not sing, but she spoke. And she wasn’t even there. At the function held to celebrate Lata Mangeshkar’s 85th birthday at Shanmukhananda Hall in Matunga on Sunday, the singer did not make it as she was indisposed.

Hridyanath Mangeshkar puts Lata Mangeshkar on speaker so the audience can hear her. Pic/Rane Ashish
Hridyanath Mangeshkar puts Lata Mangeshkar on speaker so the audience can hear her. Pic/Rane Ashish

The audience was deeply disappointed and sensing this, her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar placed a call to her on his mobile phone, asked her to say a few words to the audience, and put the phone on speaker mode.

Just those few words from Lata “Didi”, explaining that she could not attend as she was unwell, were enough to pacify the audience. Staunch fans of Lata Mangeshkar simply hang on to her every word, and even a simple “Namaskaar” from her on stage elicits rousing cheers at functions.

So we can imagine their dismay at not seeing their idol on her birthday. Thanks to her music director brother, they were able to at least hear her “live”. Get well soon, Didi.

Pumping change
Yesterday, on World Heart Day, Mumbai Police were taught the lifesaving techniques of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) at Naigaon Police Hall in Dadar. There were 300 beat marshals and traffic police who were taught the nitty-gritty of chest pumping and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Police officials learn how to perform CPR on World Heart Day. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Police officials learn how to perform CPR on World Heart Day. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Doctors from Kohinoor Hospital were the teachers, and they used a dummy to teach the policemen and women. “I am very excited, as learning to save lives will be very handy especially when I am manning traffic in the city,” said Sarla Jadhav, a traffic policewoman.

Santosh Mane, a beat marshal, added, “When people suffer heart attacks or breathlessness we call the ambulance. But time is often lost in the process. There was this time when a man died as the doctors were unable to arrive on time. Now that I have learnt CPR, I will be able to use it to save lives.”

Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria also dropped in for some time and was happy to see the personnel learning life-saving skills. “Emergencies come to the police first, but we are unable to deal with them as we are not trained. Now after this, even the police will be able to save lives by giving CPR in emergency cases,” he said.

Dr Pallavi Shivalkar, the paramedic trainer who was teaching the police said, “We have taught the police officials to apply patches and apply pressure on wounds as well as how to provide first aid. All this will help them attend to others as well as themselves in medical emergencies. We have also given them a first aid kit with all the basic first aid equipment.”

Taxis hail Mangalyaan
No, we can’t take a cab to Mars just yet, but a city taxi company has celebrated India’s Mars Orbiter Mission with congratulatory messages printed on its vehicles.

The taxis bearing congratulatory messages for the Mars mission team
The taxis bearing congratulatory messages for the Mars mission team

We think that’s a nice touch, given how easily we tend to laud people who have done much less to deserve such praise.

Instead of posters showing some silver-screen star’s face, it’s a refreshing change to see the people behind the project which has given India’s star a new cachet in the international firmament.

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