Mumbai Diary: Sunday shorts

Thirty Aprils ago, Shastri won over Azad
The year 1985 was a great one for Indian cricketer Ravi Shastri, who was named Champion of Champions for his all-round efforts in the World Championship of Cricket in Australia. After the triumph in Australia where India beat Pakistan in the final at Melbourne, India won the Rothmans Cup by beating Australia in a low-scoring final at Sharjah on March 29. There was yet another prickly opponent to tackle on Shastri’s return to India… old rivals Delhi in the April 1-6, 1985 Ranji Trophy final at the Wankhede Stadium. It’s a game which is featured in ‘A Million Broken Windows’-the magic and mystique of Bombay cricket by cricket writer Makarand Waingankar (published by Harper Sport).

Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri showed who’s the boss in the 1985 Ranji final

Batting first, Mumbai scored 333 to which Delhi responded by getting 398. When Mumbai batted again, they declared at 364 for seven, leaving Delhi to score 300 for victory. Waingankar writes: “Both teams were trying hard to crack open the opposition. ‘Ravi, polish the Ranji Trophy nicely. We will be taking it to Delhi tomorrow,’ said Kirti Azad to Ravi Shastri after having called him to the Delhi dressing room. Azad might have said this in good humour or sheer pride, but he didn’t know the effect this sentence was going to have on Shastri. “Shastri’s reply to Azad was quick and confident: ‘No way will the trophy be yours.’

“Shastri took eight for ninety-one and one of those wickets was Azad’s, who was bowled for nought. Delhi was all out for 209 and Bombay won the trophy.”

Thirty years on, wonder whether these two former India teammates and domestic cricket foes remember this duel. Shastri will certainly not forget.

Of venues and avenues 
It is a six! That’s not the Indian Premier League (IPL) but Kashish, the well known Mumbai international queer film festival, which returns for its sixth edition this May. It has a lineup of around 180 films from 44 countries. We hear that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) festival to be held from May 27 to May 31 is now going to host films at three venues not just two, as it was earlier. Films will be shown at the iconic art deco Liberty Cinema, Alliance Francaise de Bombay and the Max Muller Bhavan. Online delegate registrations have opened on the festival website and there is a 20 per cent early bird discount till April 26, 2015. 

Equality and liberty: The iconic cinema house decorated with the rainbow flag, signifying diversity during an earlier edition of Kashish

Festival director Sridhar Rangayan states that the organisers decided to expand the framework of Kashish, to include one more venue. With more venues agreeing to screen these films, we can say that spaces are opening up for the LGBT community and so are hearts and minds. The theme for Kashish 2015 is, ‘Reaching Out, Touching Hearts’. The last time, the Kashish jury who is chosen to give out awards for the best films in the festival had stated that though the number of Indian entries had grown, quality was still a concern. One hopes that Q & Q match this year and by Q & Q, we mean quality and quantity.

Learning a lesson

You can’t run or hide from Mumbai’s legendary summers. So this diarist, in her quest to conquer the heat, decides to ditch her usual mode of transport, the local train, for a Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) AC bus. So what if its frequency is pathetic? There is at least the promise of an air-conditioned space. The bus that this diarist usually travels by is driven by an elderly, amiable driver. She usually waits by the door, and jumps out at Sion, right in front of the taxi stand but before the bus stop, so that she doesn’t have to walk back a few steps to catch a cab. There is a traffic signal before the bus stop so this diarist asks the driver to open the door every time they wait for the signal to turn green. He shakes his head slowly, before saying, “Sambhal ke jaana (go carefully),” he says. This, he does unfailingly until one day, the diarist thanks him for his concern. “You are in a rush, people driving vehicles are in a rush. You have to be careful before you jump out of a bus in the middle of the road,” he shrugs. Fine, point noted. So we are going to abide by the rules, right? Absolutely-as soon as its winter.   

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