Mumbai Diary: Sunday Shorts

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

Four-legged smoke detector
People generally keep dogs for how emotionally enriching they can be in life. But pets often fulfill other roles, too — they make the best exercise mates and, if required, double up as security guards. This diarist recently had the chance to see yet another admirable side of our four-legged friends. A couple of days ago, while on his way to the office, this diarist got a call from a worried neighbour. The lady had called to inform me that my dog had been barking incessantly for a while. On investigating, she detected a strong odour emnating from his home, which was most likely smoke. This diarist rushed back home and found that a minor fire had erupted at the house, which was thankfully contained without much trouble. While he did thank his neighbour, he expressed special thanks to his four-legged smoke detector, whose alertness saved the day. What would we ever do without them?

Gotta hand it to him
He may have lost the match, but for us, table tennis player, Om Lotlikar is the ultimate winner in the game of life. The city boy lost his hand when a cement slab crashed onto it as he was playing marbles at the age of eight. Not one to accept a setback, he decided to pursue his dream no matter what and today, at the age of 20, he is a TT player of note.

Om Lotikar
INDEFATIGABLE: Om Lotlikar of Mumbai City District in the men’s first round qualifying action against Manoj Phadke of Pune on Wednesday, in the 1st Maharashtra State Ranking Table Tennis Tournament, organised and hosted by Khar Gymkhana. Lotlikar went down 7-11, 11-9, 8-11, 2-11 after managing to snatch the second game

What is even more remarkable is that Lotlikar says he does not want to play in a special category, but wants to ultimately represent Maharashtra in the regular category. The Commerce graduate is now studying for his masters degree from Mumbai University via correspondence, and is the first beneficiary of the Vilas Menon Trust scholarship, launched recently by the wife of the late international TT player Vilas Menon. In a world where many look for concessions and discounts, Lotlikar is a role model indeed.

Metro or coffee shop?
The Metro has received a warm welcome, and it is great to see commuters waiting their turn in queues without shoving their elbows in others’ faces. A few college students who took an early morning ride last Wednesday were overheard discussing interesting ideas.

City has swagger: The cool, plush interiors of the Mumbai Metro are enough to give some swanky (read expensive) hangouts a run for their money

One said, “Rather than spending Rs 300 each at a coffee shop, we can just take this Metro between Versova and Ghatkopar. We can chill in these air-conditioned interiors. Sab milake bhi Rs 300 nahi hoga (We will not even spend Rs 300 cumulatively).” His friend replied, “Sahi hai. Sab ghar se coffee pee ke aana (It’s great. Everybody, have a coffee at home before the ride).”

Civic sense

The distance between Vashi and Mankhurd stations is about 8.5 km, the longest between two railway stations in the city. There are dense mangroves on both ends and Vashi Creek falls midway. Apart from enjoying the view, daily commuters often use this stretch for other things. Many carry plastic bags filled with withered garlands and other religious waste and fling it into the creek. However, recently, a gentleman surprised his fellow commuters by wrapping a heap of dried flowers in a newspaper instead of a polythene bag. Though it is far from ideal a thing to do, we hope some people got the hint.

Contributed by: Vidya Heble, Ayan Roy, Phorum Dalal and Shakti Shetty

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