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Mumbai Diary page: Wednesday Whispers

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

Idli, idli, yodelly!
Hot weather makes for short tempers, apparently. On a recent morning a man rode up to a street idli vendor, alighted from his motorbike and asked for an order of idlis with chutney to be taken away.

The man seemed to be in a hurry, egging the vendor on with instructions such as which bag to parcel the idlis in. He was also unhappy about how the chutney was being spooned into the takeaway bag, and said it should be knotted in a certain way to avoid spillage.

The idli seller was getting visibly irritated, and when one more instruction came his way he decided not to take it any more. He moved out from behind the cart and asked the customer to take his place. “Why don’t you make the idlis and pack them while I stand here?” he asked sarcastically.

The other customers chuckled mightily at this, and the finicky customer, embarrassed, said no more but quietly took the idli packet and rode off in a hurry. The idlis were hot and, by then, so was his temper as well, probably.

Lights out, please
The sun is out in full force and one would have thought that the light from our nearest star is more than enough for our needs during the day, of course.

Lamp-posts helping the sun in spreading light in the Currey Road area. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Lamp-posts helping the sun in spreading light in the Currey Road area. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

So imagine our consternation at seeing street lights brightly ablaze, in the middle of the day, burning up precious power and sending out the wrong message altogether.

At a time when people are increasingly conscious about conserving energy, it is the authorities who should be at the forefront of eco-awareness, leading by example as well as education. Sadly, this seems to be lost on them, as the photograph shows.

Identity crisis at Mantralaya
In the great democracy that is India, many feel that rules and regulations are not binding. And what better place to take a cue from than Mantralaya, the seat of power?

The state headquarters had, a few years ago, begun implementing the card punching system to register employee attendance. But it would be wrong to assume that this guarantees the presence of the employees at their designated seats.

In the case of identity cards issued to the employees, it is a similar principle. Mantralaya employees tend to be shy of identifying themselves, and most prefer to hide their identity cards rather than display them as required. Most people knew about this but not surprisingly the higher-ups only learnt of it recently.

A circular has now been issued asking employees to display their cards clearly. And although it is the general administration department which should suggest action for non-compliance, the heads of the respective departments have been told to take action against breach of rules. Well, that’s democracy for you.

Water service
Seva (service) is in his name, and he lives up to it despite having a fulltime job. Prakash Sevani works with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) at Thane, and while he is just another train commuter between Thane and his residence at Shahad, he gives the journey his inimitable touch, quenching the thirst of fellow commuters.

Prakash Sevani gives his fellow train commuters cold water. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
Prakash Sevani gives his fellow train commuters cold water. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

For more than two decades, Sevani has been doing this on every trip toting two bags that hold 10-15 bottles containing cold water, which he fills from his home in the morning and at his workplace for the return journey.

Earlier, he used to give out bottles of water but realized that fewer people were benefiting. So he began carrying a steel tumbler, in which he hands out water to thirsty fellow commuters.

In a world where one is not surprised to hear about government employees accepting bribes just for doing their routine work, this story is the opposite a government employee who goes the extra mile to make the daily journey a tad more refreshing for others.

Contributed by: Ravikiran Deshmukh, Shakti Shetty, Shrikant Khuperkar, Hemal Ashar, Vidya Heble

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