Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Tales

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

Train secret
We've all heard of trade secrets and the local railway in the city too has one. This is one that this diarist recently became aware of. Over the weekend while on a trip to Talasari from Kopar, we took the 10.07am Panvel-Vasai MEMU train.

The MEMU train which threw up a surprise. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
The MEMU train which threw up a surprise. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

This is the Mainline Electric Multiple Unit which is a commuter rail system operated by the Indian Railway for semi-urban and rural areas. Prior to boarding the train, after booking a ticket to Dahanu, we asked a railway staffer how to get to Dahanu.

He advised us to take the train to Vasai, and not disembark but go to Virar from where the train would become an 11.55am train to Dahanu. The train had three or four passengers in the same compartment as this diaryist, and they were also aware of this ‘secret’ of the Central and Western Railways.

We wonder why the train isn’t directly run as a Panvel-Dahanu MEMU at 9.20am. Perhaps this is one anomaly which only the railway authorities can tackle by updating their time table.

Wedding on two wheels
The concept of the horse-borne baaraat (bridegroom’s procession) is oh so passé. Recently, friends of this correspondent got married and instead of the clichéd arrival-on-a-horse routine, they arrived with a rumble and a vroom.

The groom and bride entering the wedding venue, Bullet-borne
The groom and bride entering the wedding venue, Bullet-borne

The groom is the founder of a city-based biking club called Brotherhood of Tourers, and his bride is also a part of the club. So, but naturally, they rode into the venue on their cruisers, followed by a group of 15-20 of their biker mates from the club.

In fact, the bride handled her Royal Enfield as effortlessly as she did her nauvaari (nine-yard) saree. To top it off, the bride and groom exited the wedding similarly, albeit together on the groom’s bike. One hopes it will be a breezy journey.

Slice of serenity
Looking for a sliver of serenity in this harried city, where hustle-bustle rules? The K J Somaiya Vidyavihar Center of Buddhist Studies launched an introductory course on Buddhism on the occasion of Buddha Purnima, yesterday. Saturday afternoons are reserved for solace as the course runs for 10 weeks every Saturday afternoon and begins from May 9 to July 11, from 2 pm to 4 pm.

The course fees are Rs 2,000. Some of the modules are the Indian religious and philosophical context, the life of the Buddha: based on Pali and Sanskrit sources and the Theory of Dependent Origination, using the Tibetan Wheel of Life painting and Meditation theory and practice: samatha-vipasyana; the supramundane path.

There are other modules, too. The course, they say, is open to “anyone who is interested”. If you fall into that category write or call: director. or 21024338 / 20122537.

Yet another threat to wildlife
As if our wildlife, already the target of poachers and hunters, were not endangered enough, the central government has come up with a new rule which will put species at further risk of death and torture. The Draft Wildlife Policy suggests the “use of wild species for religious and cultural practices”.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has, along with other conservation non-governmental organisations, written to the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) asking that this suggestion be rejected. The BNHS points out that cruelty to animals results from following traditional practices without understanding the reason for them.

For example, it says, Nag Panchami was traditionally celebrated by farmers who conducted ceremonies near the abode of cobras. This did not involve catching any specimens, but merely showed gratitude to snakes for the important role played in controlling rodent pests and helping human prosperity. This ritual has been distorted, and resulted in snakes being tortured in the name of ceremony.

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