Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Tales

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

Music makes the wheels go round
On A hot afternoon recently, as the BEST bus made its way through the city’s ever-crowded streets towards its destination, Antop Hill, a spiffily-dressed senior citizen got in somewhere near Mumbai Central and took one of the designated seats at the front of the bus.

Illustrations/Amit Bandre
Illustrations/Amit Bandre

After showing his pass to the conductor the gentleman took out his mobile phone, put it on speaker and began playing music. Holding the phone close to his ear, he tapped his feet, snapped his fingers and even sang along as the melodious notes of old-time Hindi film duets rang out.

Of course, playing music aloud in public transport is not allowed, and the conductor went up to him to tell him so. But even as he touched the passenger’s arm, the senior citizen looked up at him with a smile of pure enjoyment, nodding his head to the beat. The conductor said nothing, looked around and exchanged shrugs with a couple of the passengers who caught his eye.

Seriously, the man was enjoying his solo music concert so much that no one had the heart to stop him. When the lilting strains of “Jab koi baat bigad jaaye” began to play, the conductor was at the front of the bus collecting a fare. He turned around and without missing a beat began “conducting” the music as the passenger sang along.

And the other commuters broke out into laughter and chuckles. There are times BEST buses leave us rattled, literally, but this was not one of them! Yes, we were there, and we giggled all the way to our workplace.

A Director’s Special
It was movie viewing with a twist, for a surprised audience at the PVR cinema (Phoenix) on Sunday, April 19. By twist, we do not mean the twirly-whirly straw that star Kalki Koechlin sipped her Margarita through in the movie, (no marks for guessing) Margarita with a Straw.

A viewer talks to Margarita with a Straw director Shonali Bose in the PVR foyer during the film’s intermission
A viewer talks to Margarita with a Straw director Shonali Bose in the PVR foyer during the film’s intermission

During the 3.40 pm show on that Sunday, just as the movie screen showed, ‘Intermission’, a lady stood up amidst the audience and stated, “hi everybody. I am the director of this movie, Shonali Bose. I am sitting for the film’s public screening for the first time. I was so nervous, my heart was going so fast.” Whistles and applause followed. Shonali continued, “Thank you.

You have been such a wonderful audience. I cannot sit for the entire movie, I have a screening elsewhere.” The crowd exited for liquid and solid nourishment during intermission, a couple of viewers buttonholed Shonali Bose outside the hall, in the foyer and asked her to pose for pictures with them.

It was good to see the director being asked to pose with viewers. It was even better seeing the response to a brave and bohemian effort. New age cinema has come of age in India. You go, Shonali Bose.

Where on earth is Bhaindar?
People from Bhayander would be forgiven for feeling schizophrenic. While their suburb is spelt one way by the Western Railway and most others, the municipality spells it quite differently.

The different spellings on the municipal website
The different spellings on the municipal website

Not just that, the municipality itself isn’t sure it says Bhaindar on the masthead of its website, and Bhayander everywhere else. Municipal Commissioner Achyut Hange says that Bhaindar is the official spelling, and he will get it corrected from Bhayander everywhere in the municipal records. Municipal officials, however, appear to be using whichever version they feel is right.

A senior municipal official told us that “Bhaindar” was not used for a very long time, and the new spelling is very recent. Hange on the other hand said that though Bhaindar is the “correct” spelling, people have been spelling it in many ways Bhayander, Bhayender, and even Bhainder.

“There are many ways people spell a word,” he went on to say. “Next to us is Bhiwandi, which some spell with V too, as Bhivandi. Now, which is wrong or right?” A quick check with residents of the area reveals that they prefer to spell it the railway way Bhayander. As long as the name does not change to Bhayankar (frightening), we say!

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