Mumbai Diary: Sunday shorts

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

Trust the Aussies to speak their mind
While Channel Nine in Australia continues to miss the full-time services of reputed player-turned-commentators Richie Benaud (battling skin cancer) and Bill Lawry (who only commentated on the third India vs Australia Test at his hometown Melbourne because of personal reasons), a welcome entry has come in the form of Michael Clarke, who has joined fellow Australian captains Mark Taylor, sunday mid-day columnist Ian Chappell and past players such as Shane Warne and Ian Healy.

Injured Australian captain Michael Clarke, now doing duty as a television commentator with Peter Siddle of Australia
Injured Australian captain Michael Clarke, now doing duty as a television commentator with Peter Siddle of Australia

However, some pundits reckon it is not right for Clarke to air his opinion on his teammates while he is still their captain.

An injured Clarke has not been part of this edition of Border-Gavaskar Trophy after the first Test in Adelaide. Channel Nine does not see any problem with that. Brad McNamara, the channel’s director of cricket was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper as saying, “Every day he (Clarke) does a press conference and he’s asked similar questions. As part of his role as Australian captain when he’s playing he’s basically asked for comment on a day-by-day basis. We don’t see the difference to be honest.”

That is so typical Australian! Expressing themselves comes naturally and anything critical is mostly viewed as constructive. Well, almost. On the 2007 tour of England, Chappell related to this diarist an incident which took place on Australia’s 1977 tour of England where then retired Chappell was taking his early steps in commentary.

Chappell was raving about off-spinner Mallett, who was not in the Test side and leg-spinner Kerry O’Keeffe was upset about Chappell praising his South Australian mate. He told Chappell: “Mallet, Mallet, you’re on about Mallet.”

Chappell told O’Keeffe: “If you don’t like what I’m saying, there’s a switch on a television set that starts with V and if you turn it you won’t hear what I’m saying. There’s another switch that starts with O and if you hit that one you won’t hear anyone talking. And you’ll be happy.”

Make the moment count
In a city, life is full of hustle and bustle. And every person in Mumbai goes through this every single day. Last week, after finishing a long meeting in Colaba, this diarist was on her way to the next one. As the taxi stood at the Kala Ghoda signal, the writer caught a sign outside David Sassoon Library: ‘Book sale’.

Old members of the library sit in the garden at David Sassoon Library at Kala Ghoda

With exactly 10 minutes to spare and still make it to her rendezvous on time, the diarist took a chance. Time stops still when you enter an old, heritage building. It took one stroll around the garden area to make the moment count. While old members sat on plastic chairs with no commitments to make and nowhere to reach on time, a cat sat under a table full of books. Rejuvenated to fight the battles of a city life, the diarist left content. Not before picking up a book of course.

Flagging down trouble?
Ghatkopar may not be the Queen, Jack or anything of the suburbs, but what it is for this diarist is a haven for kaali-peelis. Unlike rickshaws, who are notoriously difficult to flag down here, cabs can be found freely here.

Imagine our surprise then, when every cabbie we know refused to head to Parel over the past fortnight. The reason: The traffic snarls near Sion’s Gandhi market due to the pipeline repair work. Yesterday, one of the cabbies agreed to ply between Ghatkopar and Parel, and shared his woes.

“We don’t mind the traffic, but it is the level some passengers have stooped to which left us helpless. Two of my passengers just fled from my taxi at Sion!” said the bewildered cabbie. “Imagine being stuck in that hell-hole with a meter that high.”

Needless to add, we sympathise.

The jog log
You know the Mumbai marathon is near (incidentally to be run on January 18) when you see hordes of runners on our roads pounding the pavements and the roads in a last bid for the big day. Just recently, an early morning run from Prabhadevi towards Worli Seaface saw clutches of runners covering the Shivaji Park to Worli Seaface circuit.

Head and heart: Over heels for running. The boom is on in Mumbai

The sun had yet to shrug off the cloak of darkness and fill the sky with its first golden rays. Through the darkness, one could discern the outlines of runners, with a lot of women amongst them too, jogging along at varying speeds. How the running landscape has changed in Mumbai— a lot more runners than before, fitness coaches leading the runners and many more women running on our roads. It is a transformation whose time has come and is very welcome. Many people accuse Mumbai as a city with no soul, well, we do not know about that. But all we can say is: more power to the sole (pun intended) of this city. 

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