Mumbai Diary: Thursday theme

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

Early to bed, Sandeep Patil's mantra
The Pakistan Cricket Board took a serious view of their current chief selector and former captain Moin Khan’s alleged visit to a casino in Christchurch, and sent him home in the midst of their wobbly World Cup campaign.

Sandeep Patil certainly looks fit and fine
Sandeep Patil certainly looks fit and fine

While we wonder whether Moin has been dealt with a touch too severely, Thursday Theme learns that India’s chief selector Sandeep Patil, his fun-loving, party-man cricketer image notwithstanding, has not visited even a bar while on tour in an official capacity, ever since he got his first mentoring role with Madhya Pradesh back in the late 1980s.

Patil (58), who has coached India, Kenya and Oman, is known to hit the sack at 8.30pm every night to be at his freshest the following morning, to watch domestic cricket from his chief selector’s seat. If he appears far fitter than he appeared during his playing days, you now know what the secret is.

A clear view from up there
Travelling on the Harbour line is generally uneventful - almost boring. But recently this diarist was at Sandhurst Road station and saw an eye-catching sight a 7-ft-tall man, with two shorter young men tucked under either arm, much like a hen takes chickens under her wing.

It merited a double take, and on closer viewing it turned out that the tall man was a ticket-checker (TC), that dreaded species which is commonly found on station platforms. The two youths had been nabbed for ticketless travel.

TCs are known to have hawk eyes for travellers who try to evade them, and this gentleman in particular had a natural advantage, as it were, being able to spot errant commuters from his extra-tall vantage point.

Veiled references
It's that time of year again, when the board examinations are approaching, and the state board helpline is busy answering calls from anxious students. One such call came from a 17-year-old girl, who said she was angry that the exam centre in-charge had asked her to lift her burqa’s veil (naqaab) and show her face before entering the hall.

The issue went to the board, which eventually stated that students in burqas will have to show their face while entering the classroom for the purpose of identification. However, they are still free to wear the veil subsequently, while giving the exam.

Have car, will park
Call it ‘mauka mauka’ given the current cricketing atmosphere thanks to the ongoing World Cup. There is frenetic work on at the monorail site near the Haffkine Institute and Wadia Hospital at Parel.

Under the monorail Parel’s latest car park? Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Under the monorail Parel’s latest car park? Pic/Datta Kumbhar

This means that large swathes of the road are off limits to vehicles. So Mumbaikars, living up to their enterprising label, have promptly used the space beneath the monorail as a car park, even as work goes on above.

All par for the course in space-starved Mumbai. Or, should that read, car for the course?

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