Mumbai Diary: Sunday Shorts

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

Nothing like good old banter
Former greats have been vocal over the need for modern cricketers not to indulge in abuse. Whether those views end up falling on deaf ears is anyone’s guess, but whatever is being recommended is only right and fair.

The best of names to have graced the cricketing greens never had too much to say to their opponents. New Zealand’s fast bowling legend Richard Hadlee was one and he said recently, “The game should be played hard and with intensity, but not with this combative approach. There is no need for sledging and abuse of players and officials.”

Sir Vivian Richards and Sunil Gavaskar
Sir Vivian Richards and Sunil Gavaskar

Our very own batting legend, Sunil Gavaskar has been a great advocate of the game being bereft of abuse. What the cricket world would not mind is friendly banter which makes the game extra special.

Thirty-one Decembers ago, during an India vs West Indies Test match at Chennai (then Madras), Gavaskar heard West Indies’ icon Viv Richards utter something which made a delightful anecdote.

Here’s what happened: For the first time in his Test career, Gavaskar decided to drop down to No 4 instead of opening the innings. The late Malcolm Marshall sent back opener Anshuman Gaekwad and one-drop batsman Dilip Vengsarkar for ducks and in came Gavaskar. With full knowledge that India did not have any runs on the scoreboard, Richards decided to ‘welcome’ Gavaskar with the words, “Maan, it don’t matter when you come in to bat, the score is still zero.”

That brought about some laughter in the middle and the rest of the game was played with intensity. For the record, Gavaskar went on to score a career-best 236 not out in a drawn game which ended on December 29, 1983.

Phoney business
If we ask you who your best friend is, you might overlook the one thing that’s closest to you — your cellphone. After all, there’s a reason why our heart breaks if our smartphone slips from our hands. Or, if we misplace it. However, the worst case scenario would be our phone getting stolen during the commute. 

Now, imagine the irony of losing it to an attempted robbery. Newspapers are replete with stories of the aam janta paying the price for being too absorbed in their gadget. Some unsuspecting commuters often stand at the train compartment’s footboard, fidgeting with their phones only to find them gone a second later, snatched by a thief hanging on to the footboard of the parallel train. This diarist recently witnessed an incident on a platform at Andheri station. A lean guy entered a train, tried to tussle a commuter’s phone out of his hand — unsuccessfully — before jumping out of the train. All within a few seconds. If anything, these discouraging events help us understand how behavioural patterns contribute to the rise of a particular crime, too.

Rizzles and the sizzles 
Mumbai’s gay community may have something to smile about this season. The TV channel Zee Café has started airing a serial, Rizzoli & Isles, on weeknights at 10 pm. It is about two women, detective Jane Rizzoli and Dr Maura Isles, who work at the Boston Police Department. Rizzoli is a detective while Isles is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s chief medical examiner. While the serial shows them as very close friends, many gay women are enjoying the subtext at play.

Hot cop Jane Rizzoli (l) and Dr Maura Isles
Hot cop Jane Rizzoli (l) and Dr Maura Isles  

The serial has a huge gay fan following, with women claiming that Rizzoli and Isles are lovers and the serial writers are simply teasing them. They see more in the brush of a fingertip, the touch of the shoulders or even a glance. Their followers have dubbed them Rizzles, and even have drinking a game on this — every time, Rizzoli or Isles touch or do something flirty, one must drink up. Some gay party poopers insist that the protagonists are heterosexual, but the Rizzles ‘shippers’, as they are called, know it is all about the subtext, baby. With epithets like, ‘Rizzoli and Isles — hot on the streets and between the sheets’, Rizzles sure sizzle for many. Gay Mumbai, are you watching?

PK entertained
Watching a Bollywood blockbuster at a single-screen theatre has its own charm. On Friday, this writer watched PK at Chandan Cinema at Juhu. Five seconds into the film, Aamir Khan’s almost full monty entry invited hoots and whistles from the audience in the stalls.

A newborn, as amazed as many grown-ups in the auditorium, began crying. Its cries picked up tempo and it howled for a good 10 minutes. Someone in the audience screamed: “Chhup kara bachche ko (quieten the child)!”

To this, another replied: “Pehle tu chup hoja (first you shut up).”

Both the child and the whiner fell mum.

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