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Mumbai Diary page: Tuesday Tales

Hair and now
RECENTLY a senior citizen, the uncle of one of our colleagues, was entering a government building for some work, when he was stopped for a security check. The securityman looked him up and down, noted his silver hair, and took a second look at his identity card photograph. The visitor, who is blessed with a relatively young-looking face, assured the securityman that he was indeed as senior as he was supposed to be. “The hair on my head can be bleached white,” he said, “but look at the hair on my arms — that is white, too!” The securityman had a good laugh and sent our uncle on his way.

Taste of Tradition
AN ENLIGHTENED male reader remarks, about Karva Chauth, that it is “kadva chauth” — where tradition masks the bitter taste of “woman’s voluntary subjugation to male dominance”.

Batting from the lectern
TODAY’S generation may not know enough of radio and television commentator Fredun De Vitre, but in the 1970s and 1980s, he was a household name in sports broadcasting. His last game as commentator was the 1993 India vs West Indies Hero Cup final at the Eden Gardens.

THE SPEAKING IS EASY: Fredun De Vitre still holds his audience rapt. Pic/Clayton Murzello
THE SPEAKING IS EASY: Fredun De Vitre still holds his audience rapt. Pic/Clayton Murzello

Fredun, who excels in the legal field, was at the Cricket Club of India on Sunday to deliver a talk on Vijay Merchant’s 103rd birth anniversary at a function organised by the Legends Club.

The genial Parsi did full justice to Merchant, who served the game in various capacities - cricketer, commentator, mentor and chief selector whose casting vote helped Ajit Wadekar to get the India captaincy for the historic 1971 tour to West Indies.

But Merchant’s super selections started even before that when he launched his ‘Catch ‘em Young’ policy on his appointment in 1968.

Fredun informed his audience that Merchant got the job by chance. The great batsman was in Kolkata on business and happened to be in the same hotel as the BCCI members who were present for their Annual General Meeting. Merchant saw then Board president Zal Irani and jokingly asked him what he was doing in the lobby when the Board meeting was on.

Irani urged Merchant to stop mocking the Board and come on board (pun unintended) to contribute. When Irani asked him whether he would be chairman of selectors, Merchant thought he was joking. After some serious consideration, Merchant gave his nod that evening and brought about a turning point in Indian cricket by picking young guns who went on to serve India with distinction like (in chronological order) Chetan Chauhan, Eknath Solkar, Gundappa Vishwanath and Mohinder Amarnath and Sunil Gavaskar.

Sunday evening was a good time to be at the CCI. Cricket talk flowed smoothly and we went home thinking how Fredun would still be a hit in the commentary box. Like Merchant in 1968, he is preoccupied but the television networks would do well to enquire about his availability.

Masala matters
SO, WHAT do candidates get up to when campaigning is over? They probably go into huddles in party offices, discussing how the campaign went and figuring out strategies depending on various possible outcomes. At least, that’s what we think. Maybe some indulge in retail therapy.

SOMETHING TO CHEW ON: MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar has a one-on-one with a serving of bhel. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
SOMETHING TO CHEW ON: MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar has a one-on-one with a serving of bhel. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Or chill out with a movie on TV or DVD. Get into a marathon session of Candy Crush Saga. There are so many options. Or, like Bala Nandgaonkar of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, they could choose to chill out over a plate of bhel. After all, what’s life without a little spice, eh?

Looking forward to a clean world
TOMORROW, October 15, is World White Cane Day. While we should always be sensitive to the visually impaired, it is an occasion to remind ourselves that we are blessed with the gift of sight, and to do something extra for those who are not. Meanwhile, a group of sight-impaired people in the city are “celebrating the spirit of blindness through our vision”, as they put it. They are cleaning parts of Mumbai on Sunday October 19, from 8am. Each blind participant will have a sighted escort to help them, say the organisers, adding, “We are ready to get our hands dirty to make a cleaner Mumbai.”

If you would like to help, you can suggest a place which needs a cleanup; be a sighted volunteer; or sign up as a blind cleaner or a blindfold cleaner (for sighted enthusiasts). Contact: Shivkumar Raheja at shivraheja@gmail.com or 9819409860, or Nidhi Goyal at nidhigoyal219@gmail.com, by tomorrow.

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