Mumbai diary: Sunday shorts

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

Finding kindness in Chembur
THIS week, this diarist moved lock, stock and barrel from Navi Mumbai to Chembur. The first perceivable change came in the reactions of people. “You live in Vashi?” one would exclaim in the past, with one arm raised to vaguely point towards a land far far away. “That’s far,” the rest shuddered.

Even in a crowded suburb like Chembur, kindness lurks in every corner. File pic

Anyway, after finally moving to what has been often dubbed one of the most polluted suburbs in the city, one of the things that this diarist sorely missed wasn’t, ironically, clean air to breathe. It was the Good Samaritans in Navi Mumbai who would welcome early morning joggers with glasses of cucumber and lime juice. In Chembur, while jogging within the residential building’s compound, there was no such kindness to be found in the first few days. On the third day, however, an aged woman walked up, offering one sole glass of buttermilk. “I see you jogging here everyday in this heat. Here, have this,” she smiled. And just like that, suddenly, Chembur became like home. Oh, how we depend on the kindness of strangers!

Funny ways to heal
You may call it happy memories or funny ones, but it is sobriety for sure, mixed with a smile. Amid all those heart-rending pictures of the recent Nepal earthquake were a few that made us smile through our tears at the human suffering of this Himalayan Kingdom.

Clowns visit Tata Memorial a couple of years ago, to spread cheer among cancer afflicted kids. file pic

A couple of Israeli medical clowns, as they call themselves, were at hospitals in Kathmandu, making the injured smile. The children, of course, were hugely entertained, in spite of the dark days they had recently seen. These pictures took us right back to the days in Mumbai when similar clowns from overseas had visited this city. They went to different hospitals visiting cancer-stricken children, earning laughs of delight from their pint-sized audience.

In Kathmandu: An Israeli medical clown entertains an earthquake victim during a visit to a makeshift army camp in Kathmandu. Pic/AFP

Of course, the medical clowns in Nepal were professionals who had received medical and nursing training. Whether in Kathmandu or Mumbai, laughter really is the best medicine.

It’s a mad, mad world
Waiting at hospitals is serious business when one’s kin is unwell. And your diarist happened to be in such a situation. While talking to relatives of other patients at the reception area, the conversation was disrupted by a ruckus at the entrance.

For Representational purpose only

A man, who we assumed was waiting to see a relative there, had a sudden, bizarre desire to have his picture taken next to a sculpted figure at the hospital. Naturally, the security personnel took objection and ordered the man and his daughter (who was taking the picture) to stop this immediately. Not a tad embarrassed, the man started arguing with the guard and insisted on getting that picture clicked. The argument went on for a good ten minutes until the guard threatened to throw him out of the hospital. And that, thankfully, put an end to  the drama.

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