Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Tales

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

Tree glee for me
Raids on illegal hawkers and vendors by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is nothing new. Every time it happens, there’s an expected amount of chaos.

Trees serving as storage room for hawkers and vendors. Pics/Vikas Kaul
Trees serving as storage room for hawkers and vendors. Pics/Vikas Kaul

The idea is to stop the roadside ‘perpetrators’ from operating unlawfully. What is interesting is the persistence on both ends. The vendors will not give up as they continue to go back to the streets to sell their commodities while the civic authority will keep surprising them every now and then.

When the authority is in pursuit, it is time to shift base-or top, depending on how you look at it
When the authority is in pursuit, it is time to shift base-or top, depending on how you look at it

Something amusing took place over the weekend at Colaba. BMC officials got a complaint that some vendors were storing their goods on top of a roadside tree at night. Despite warnings that the practice could cause an accident, injuring pedestrians walking underneath the tree, the concerned vendors did not pay heed.

As a consequence, the feared van parked itself on the street and the elevated gunny bags were lowered with much protests from their owners so as to be confiscated. Despite the shouting by the women and resistance by men, it was just another day in the city. The odds move in a mysterious way in Mumbai.

Maria, man of the moment
Mumbai saw a tense Sunday night, with a traffic violation threatening to escalate into a communal situation at Parel. Members of two communities were at loggerheads and Whatsapp was abuzz with highly exaggerated accounts of riots in certain city pockets.

A constable takes a photo of Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria on the streets, during a mob violence incident on Sunday night. Pic/Rane Ashish
A constable takes a photo of Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria on the streets, during a mob violence incident on Sunday night. Pic/Rane Ashish

Amidst the tension strode in the man for the city, Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria. He had left a function in the suburbs and arrived at the spot as duty called. He was present on the streets near the Takya Masjid till 3.30 am Monday, January 5. At 2.30 am, he spoke to police officials and asked only 10 officers to be present near the location asking the other officers to rest for a while.

No rest for him, though, he was at the spot way beyond 3 am leaving only when satisfied that things had de-escalated sufficiently and Mumbai was safe. The top cop comes out on top.

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