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Mumbai Diary: Sunday shorts

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

City-based Spiderman, Gaurav Sharma, like all election contestants, may spend these post-election days soaking his feet in a tub of hot water, applying ice packs and rejuvenating tired limbs. South Mumbai’s independent candidate has earned the Spiderman moniker because he climbs up city buildings using his hands like Spidey in symbolic gestures, either as a tribute to an event or persons, or to inculcate a love for climbing and adventure among the youth. He contested as an independent and campaigned by clambering up structures and knocking on the windows of the electorate. “I did not climb high. But, yes, people were startled at times, to see me, at other times, they were amused. I contested seriously though.” In the Geeta Nagar slums at Colaba, Gaurav said that he felt the anger of people who wanted to beat up politicians for false promises.

“I calmed them down and told them they could beat me if they wished to.” Gaurav laughed as he added, “Luckily, I was not at a window at that time, since Geeta Nagar is a shanty pocket I could not climb up, otherwise, getting beaten up while perched outside a window would have been disastrous!”

Mallakhamb moves
IN a time of summer camps and even more camps, there is one camp in Mumbai that stands out because of its longevity — the Samarth Vyayam Mandir at Shivaji Park has been conducting summer camps for 40 years consecutively. Even as you read this, the curtains will fall on their 40th one with the evening session ending at 7 pm today.


WAY TO GO: The summer camp features the immensely popular mallakhamb. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The mallakhamb, which is what one could claim as the flagship event of the camp, saw tremendous response from 2,200 participants at this camp with ages ranging from 5 to 83! Talk about range. Meanwhile, even as this camp ends, mallakhamb goes on at Shivaji Park. The indigenous sport, which is gymnastics on a rope and pole, goes international in August-September, this year. Practitioners, along with coach Uday Deshpande will be off to Munich, to teach Germans the sport. It is an Indo-German collaboration for the eleventh year running. We actually call it a Dadar-Deutschland twist (mallakhamb is all about contortions) treaty. 

Democratic pose
As soon as actor Bhagyashree cast her vote at the Juhu polling station, shutterbugs gathered outside began clicking her. Going by her expression, she wasn’t expecting such limelight.


Bhagyashree after voting

But the amusing part was when one of the photographers screamed, “Figure please!”  It was only seconds later that the bemused actor realised that they were asking her to flash her inked finger. 

Alex Vaz

Is Vaz India’s oldest sporting author?
FORMER FIFA referee Alex Vaz chuckles in sarcasm when he sees on-field football officials goof up on the television screen. Eighty-year-old Vaz is India’s only FIFA referee instructor, apart from serving the Mumbai Schools Sports Association as president for several years.

He could also well be India’s oldest sporting author.

After a contributory stint with a popular sports magazine, where he answered technical queries from football players and refs week after week, Vaz decided to write the book, Football Laws Simplified. The second edition of the book is available in digital form on popular websites.

Due to his age, Vaz can’t stay up for the entire duration of Champions League games but records the action. The next morning is spent analysing law-related issues which helps him in his talks with local referees.

Having refereed in pre-World Cup tournaments in 1973 and 1977, Vaz was a certainty for the 1980 Moscow Olympics but says he missed the boat due to politics in the country’s football body. That remains his only regret. But then, old regrets, he says must be forgotten just like an old loan which a friend didn’t pay up.

It happened one night!
On The night of April 21, after a scorching day of summer, it rained for about half an hour in parts of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. Since that happened much after sunset, the birds — at least the diurnal ones — weren’t affected as such. But the street dogs had a different experience altogether. They must have been mighty surprised by the untimely thunder and lightning, not to forget the actual downpour. However, they are street smart enough to find themselves shelter wherever they can. No matter how boring that is.

 

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