Mumbai Diary page: Wednesday Whispers

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

Welcome to the machine
While some would hang up their boots at retirement age, and others opt for voluntary retirement so they can kick back and relax, here is one man who believes in just keeping on.

Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

Shabbir Shaikh, who is over 70, lives at Mumbra and repairs sewing machines for a living, earning around Rs 800-1,000 per day although he has absolutely no need to.

He has four sons and two daughters, and explains, “My children are all grown up, they tell me to stay at home but if I sit at home doing nothing, I will fall ill. If I keep working I will stay healthy.” Now that’s a role model if anyone’s in need of one...

Eye on the polls
There are ways and there are ways to incentivise voting, as the atmosphere is all about going to the polls and suddenly it is oh-so-fashionable to franchise. Even hospitals have jumped on to the bandwagon. The Bhojraj Chanrai Sankara Eye Hospital (BCSEH) is now offering a 50 per cent discount to voters, in an initiative with the Young Indians CII.

To encourage citizens towards being responsible, the Malad-based BCSEH is offering 50 per cent off on eye screening consultation on polling day and the day after that is, April 24 and 25, 2014 and free Lasik screening for 14 days from April 24 to May 7. People who voted become eligible for the offer by showing the ink on their finger. All we can say is eye, aye to this incentive.

Not in good cheer(s)
What is it about alcohol that evokes such — well, strong reactions? Mumbaikars are familiar with moral policing attempts to muzzle the city’s nightlife and cap its watering holes. Now comes Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramaniam Swamy, commenting on reports of Priyanka Gandhi’s willingness to contest elections from Varanasi.

Swamy said that Priyanka would have been thrashed if she had contested from Varanasi, as she drinks too much alcohol and has a bad name. “They saved her. She would have got a thrashing. She is very unpopular, she drinks too much alcohol and she has a bad name, her husband has a bad name,” Swamy is reported as saying.

Au contraire, we are all for someone who is chilled-out enough to enjoy alcohol (responsibly and in moderation, of course) and not be a hypocrite about it — although till the time of writing this Priyanka Gandhi had not said anything either way. Swamy should also take heed of various studies that show moderate alcohol consumption has several benefits. The trouble, as always, is that word “moderate”...

It’s a Winner either way
A Banner put up to advertise a local neighbourhood cricket tournament at Chinchpokli has a catchy slogan: “If you come, welcome. If you don’t come, gardi kum (less crowd).”

Abu-solutely furious
Samajwadi party leader’s Abu Azmi’s statements in this paper, where he said women having sex should be hanged, are continuing to raise a furore despite Azmi trying to back-pedal later with some kind of clarification.

Illustrations/Amit Bandre

If you need a refresher, Azmi had said that any woman who has sex outside marriage should be hanged, including rape victims. He had also said that girls complain when someone touches them and even when someone does not touch them.

Azmi did issue some kind of clarification later, but he was and continues to be roundly slammed with retorts like whether he is trying to win an election in Afghanistan. His daughter-in-law, Ayesha Takia, had tweeted in response that she and her husband Farhan Azmi, Abu Azmi’s son, were ashamed and embarrassed about the statements.

The subject is still simmering, with messages buzzing on social media that people should boycott Farhan’s two restaurants in Colaba. Farhan, however, did differ with his father on this one. They were certainly not on the same page, or in this case plate, about this.

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