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Mumbai Diary: Sunday Shorts

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

Remembering Commonwealth
Sports aficionados have a big multi-sport event coming up on July 23. India is fielding a fairly large contingent for Glasgow (Scotland) Commonwealth Games beginning June 24. Events on mammoth stages like sporting events have always been used to make statements of different kinds. Now, of course, every event has to worry about a terror threat or impending attack. So to put some mirth into the morbid, here is a cartoon that was doing the rounds four years ago, when the Games were in Delhi (and the Suresh Kalmadi controversy) that followed. Anyway, at that time too reports were trickling in about a terror threat to the Games and this newspaper had published a memorable cartoon keeping an eye on the reports. As the Games loom, we reproduce the cartoons. Some grim laughs in an often dark world.

Commonwealth

Maize pays
The rains come down and the prices go up. At least that seems to be the logic at the Worli Seaface promenade, frequented by rain revelers, especially at high tide. The bhutta sellers are now charging a steep R30 to R40 for a corn on the cob on the seaface, especially on high-tide days. This is called making hay when the sun shines, or in other words, making hay when the waves rise.

Nothing like a hot bhutta on a wet, rainy day
Nothing like a hot bhutta on a wet, rainy day 

Beginner’s guide to New Bombay
No, New Bombay is not THAT far away from where you are. Yes, the railway stations are architectural wonders. At least they were when they were built. Maintenance is an altogether different ballgame though. In Navi Mumbai, local trains don’t take sides. And there’s no such a thing as fast local. If having really bad roads are part of the plan, then yes, Navi Mumbai deserves the title of world’s largest planned city. Few decades later, somebody will come up with a film titled New Bombay Velvet (about the city that never was) and Gangs of New Bombay (about the city that once was). That rumoured airport has been in the making for quite a long time now. Perhaps the realtors came up with it. Did you know Belapur experiences two degree celsius less than what Mumbai does? Nobody cares. Everybody goes to the nearest mall to have a good time. Everybody. Unlike in Mumbai, water doesn’t log on the streets of New Bombay. Reclamation land and too many construction sites, you see?

That’s spit-astic
Those in the know will be aware of Mumbai’s ‘spit’ inspectors. Often featured in lists titled ‘Bizare things in India’ on websites, these inspectors’ modus operandi is to pounce on a miscreant who spits and humiliate him/her into paying a fine. The other day, we were on our way to work when we stopped in front of a traffic signal right before the Priyadarshini flyover. And our cab driver spat out. Out of nowhere a man in civilian clothes instructed the driver to park the car in the corner of the road. He then proceeded to deliver a short speech, peppered with the words ‘TB’ and ‘ban’ and asked the driver for a fine of Rs 100. The driver tried to cajole him into letting him go as he didn’t spit paan or gutka. “Haan, issi liye aapka fine Rs 100 hi hai (That’s why your fine is just Rs 100),” growled the ‘inspector’. The cabbie finally relented, paid the fine and got a receipt in return. And no, he didn’t spit during the journey again.

This man, when caught by the spit marshall, couldn’t pay the fine, so he was asked to sweep the road
This man, when caught by the spit marshall, couldn’t pay the fine, so he was asked to sweep the road

It's raining rats!

The other day, we sought refuge from the rain at Lower Parel station. Just then, we heard a woman shriek and point up. There were rats running up and down the metal framework. Looks like the furry creatures had nowhere to go, with waterlogging everywhere. Thankfully, they did not fall on our head, otherwise we would have been forced to change the adage ‘It’s raining cats and dogs!’

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