Mumbai Diary: Saturday scene

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

Note for the collector
It's a damaged note, but one with a difference. Not torn or disfigured with curry, this Rs 10 note has a glaring misprint. Where the serial number should be, in the lower left hand corner, is a blank space.

Businessman Ramesh Patkar with the note (below) he got from a customer. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
Businessman Ramesh Patkar with the note (below) he got from a customer. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

And the number is printed at the top of the note - but it’s different from the serial number in the other location on the note! It’s not a fake note that was our question, too. Considering it is a genuine note, a misprint like this probably means that it is worth much, much more than the Rs 10 value it bears.

Similar to misprinted postage stamps, which command hefty prices in the collectors’ market, this note (at least, we think so) is likely to be much in demand from connoisseurs of the genre.

Rail race
Only a train commuter can understand the frustration of missing a train, or finding one’s “regular” cancelled or postponed. When one is trying to get that edge in the rat race, the feeling is even more keen.

Yesterday was such a day for one of our colleagues at Dahisar on the Western Railway. Two Churchgate-bound trains were cancelled, and then another one arrived without announcement making passengers run helter-skelter to reach the platform in time.

One man was heard remarking to his companion as they scampered to catch the elusive iron horse, “Zindagi ki daud hai, sahi hai; lekin yeh railway waale sach mein humko bhagaate hain! (True that it is a race of life, but the railways make us actually run!)”

Don’t take it sitting down
Seating arrangements define legislators’ seniority in the respective Houses of which they are members. The Chief Minister, opposition leaders, deputy speaker/chairman and senior ministers/legislators are seated in the front row in either side, under protocol rules.

Parliamentary affairs minister Girish Bapat, who in consultation with legislature officials, decide this arrangement, was in a peculiar situation when Shiv Sena’s Subhas Desai (industry minister) and Jayant Patil (many-time MLC of the Peasants and Workers Party) got upset because they were not given the front row seats.

While Desai, after telling Bapat he be given a proper seat, avoided attending the upper house, Patil expressed his concern in the house. Sources said some Sena ministers, who are junior to Desai in the Sena rank, were given front row because they were technically senior in the government in view of ministerial offices he held in the erstwhile Sena-BJP government.

In Patil’s case, his seat was given to a much-junior Congress MLC. And, when he was offered a seat next to the minister he refused to occupy it. He said being in opposition he did not want to sit on the treasury benches. The issue was being sorted out while we wrote this.

The cup that cheers everyone
Every hardworking individual needs time off for a tea break. And who is to say monkeys are excluded from that?

It’s serious business, this tea break. Pic/Pravin Mahida
It’s serious business, this tea break. Pic/Pravin Mahida

While passing the ISKCON temple at Chowpatty, near Bhavan’s College, we saw this simian sitting and sipping at a glass of tea, much like one of us. After all, the poor beast works as hard as or, probably, harder than his human captors.

Print problem
Recently one of our readers wrote in about a city bookshop he had visited with his young daughter. Spotting a display of what looked like classic titles bound in red with gold stamped lettering, as books used to be in a long-ago era, he picked up one or two intending to start a home collection for his kids.

One author on the imprint page, another in the introduction
One author on the imprint page, another in the introduction

But, as his indignant email to us says, the look of the display was deceptive, as the books’ covers were thin and the binding was weak. Furthermore, he added, when he picked up a book of short stories by DH Lawrence (as it said on the cover), he discovered that it was actually stories by Leo Tolstoy!

While it may not be a crime to publish cheap books, we think it’s not fair to the classics and their authors to treat them so shabbily. Not only is quality lacking, there also seems to be indifference to the content. Like our reader, we too would be happy to see good books printed that the younger generation can start collecting. But if it’s going to be done, it should be done well.

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