Mumbai Diary: Sunday shorts

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

An early start
On a typical day before dawn, dogs literally rule the streets. They chase every vehicle that passes by, not because they want a ride but because they want you to get out of their territory as soon as possible. Around the same time, we find the rag pickers who start their day pretty early so as to pick “their” stuff up before dump trucks make their way in. Amid the barking dogs who can’t bear to share the street or garbage with the rag pickers, we forget what a great job these rag pickers are doing by helping us recycle goods. Cynical it is, but we have a long way before we call ourselves a city. But we’ve got patience, thankfully.

Remembering cricketer Archie Jackson
Phil Hughes’ death at just 25 reminds us of another Aussie Test batsman who died young — Archie Jackson — at 23 in 1933.

Phil Hughes
Phil Hughes

Historians reckon Jackson, who succumbed to tuberculosis during the famous Bodyline series, would have been as successful as Sir Don Bradman if the eternal scorer would have let him live.

Archie Jackson
Archie Jackson

Jackson fought hard but his illness won. David Frith, the great cricket historian and writer, wrote a book on Jackson in 1974 called Archie Jackson — the Keats of Cricket in which he describes the batsman’s last few days splendidly: “Only few days before being rushed to hospital for the last time he had told Shaw (Eddie, who wrote for The Telegraph) that he felt the cards were stacked against him. But with a characteristic smile, he added: ‘A man can only fight this thing out; if he wins it has been worthwhile; if he goes under, well, he at heart feels that what is to be will be’.”

A bit of Japan in India
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan sweeping the country (literally), a lady in Mumbai says that cleaning should not be the PM’s call, or a publicity ploy, but that it should simply be part of the school curriculum.

MOP FOR A MOPPET: Amy Shah gives son, Swayam Shah, a lesson in Sojee Science
MOP FOR A MOPPET: Amy Shah gives son, Swayam Shah, a lesson in Sojee Science

In 1995 after Kobe was devastated by an earthquake, Amy Shah’s family moved back to India from Kobe (Japan) when she was 13. Says Mumbai-based Shah, “I was born and brought up in Japan. We used to have something called Sojee Science, or ‘cleaning science’, which was a subject taught in schools.” Today, Amy has a fledgling enterprise called Little Japan, in which she visits different schools in the city, teaching children Sojee Science. She says, “Japan considers cleaning as a regular subject to be taught in schools. My school called, Little Japan, teaches Japanese to little kids and of course, Sojee Science too.” We say, we like this Indo-Japan Swach-Sojee treaty.

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