Mumbai Diary: Thursday theme

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

Sweet nothings in the air... the tech way
We were just musing on the changing nature of human perception, and noting that it is no longer odd to see someone gesticulating at nothing. They are merely talking on a hands-free mobile phone device! Coincidentally we came across a social media post by our veteran journalist friend Dev Nadkarni, which puts it in words far better than we could:

“I must have been eight. Dad and I were going somewhere in a Mumbai local. A middle aged gent boarded at a station and plonked himself on the bench in front of us. He began a monologue, gesturing intermittently. Everyone glanced at him. Some chuckled, some smirked. A few stations later he got off. I asked dad. ‘All of us talk to ourselves but some do so loudly. It’s called soliloquy.’ I wasn’t impressed.

I thought he was talking to a ghost. I was into ghosts then. I made bold, ‘How do you know he wasn’t talking to a ghost whom we couldn’t see?’ Dad promptly exorcised the topic. I spent the rest of the journey running all sorts of scenarios about the ghost and the gent in my head. It was the stuff of Calvin and Hobbes.

“Cut to last week. I was on an errand dropping a friend’s eight-year-old someplace. We stopped at a light. Another car pulled up alongside. I glanced at the driver who was talking and gesturing animatedly. There was nobody else in his car. His gesticulations also caught my young passenger’s eye.

‘There’s no one else in the car. Do you suppose he’s talking to a ghost?’ I asked. ‘Nah… he must be on his hands-free,’ came the reply. No more ghosts in this digital age. No Calvin and Hobbes, too, for that matter. And soliloquy vanished at that railway station all those years ago.”

Banking on them
A tome arrived at our workstation recently, all of 1072 pages. Easily one of the largest to have graced our office, The Bank of India: 100 Years of Prudential Banking by Abhik Ray was intimidating, to put it mildly.

Leila Seth’s and MF Husain’s signatures
Leila Seth’s and MF Husain’s signatures

Yet, as we skimmed through the pages of the title that highlights the making and the milestones related to this banking institution, we chanced upon a few interesting visuals.

Khushwant Singh's signature
Khushwant Singh's signature

Our interest was piqued further on spotting a Savings Bank Account opening form of late author Khushwant Singh as well as specimen signature cards of former Chief Justice of India Leila Seth and iconic artist MF Husain. Intriguingly, all three had their accounts at BOI’s Khan Market branch in New Delhi. Here’s a dekko:

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