Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Tales

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

Stats man Anant Gaundalkar no more
Well-known cricket statistician Anant Gaundalkar passed away in Mumbai yesterday. He was 59. Gaundalkar, it is learnt, suffered a stroke in 2014 which rendered him unconscious till the very end.

Anant Gaundalkar
Anant Gaundalkar

He provided cricket statistics to several publications including this newspaper. A major portion of his work was published in the The Afternoon Despatch and Courier in the mid-1980s till the 1990s.

Apart from gracing the sports pages supervised by then Sports Editor, Sharad Kotnis, the newspaper’s editor Behram Contractor mentioned Gaundalkar in several of his Round and About by Busybee columns. “The redoubtable Anand Gaundalkar,” was how Contractor referred to the stats man in his back page, satire columns.

Always neatly dressed and well groomed, Gaundalkar’s statistical inscriptions on white A4 sheets landed on sports desks all over the country. He could even provide statistical data on big events like the Olympics and tennis Grand Slams.

Since he had a day job, often Gaundalkar had to burn the midnight oil to live up to his statistical commitments. He was never known to miss deadlines. RIP, Anant Gaundalkar.

Lassi is More
Tis the golden season that is, mangoes of course. Alphonso being on everyone’s lips, literally as well as figuratively, let us not forget other varieties which are just as juicy and sweet.

And if the fruit alone is tiring you out, The Guardian newspaper from the UK has come up with their version of the “perfect mango lassi”. It involves yogurt, a dash of cardamom... and, well, you can read the whole thing, and the fascinating process by which they hit upon the ideal recipe, at guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle (look for Felicity Cloake).

The curious case of a minister’s agony
Holding a minister’s office is a high point in one’s political career, but then it leaves one no scope to pursue personal interests and maintain habits that become part of one’s routine.

Sudhir Mungantiwar
Sudhir Mungantiwar

Maharashtra’s finance and planning minister, Sudhir Mungantiwar, is one such person who rues the fact that he had to change as a person because of the new responsibility. Sharing his feelings with mid-day the other day, he said he has not been able to do three most important things that have been unanimous with his life so far.

“I started writing a diary every night since I was a 13-year-old kid. Sadly, I have not been able to do so in the past six months... the pages of my diaries last year’s between October and December, and this year’s January till date (last week) - are blank,” he said with apparent sadness. Another thing that the minister has not been able to accomplish is to work by a time-table.

And, the third thing that dogs him most these days is inability to find any document asked for in one minute’s time. “I have never felt so inept. My filing of paperwork (when he was an opposition MLA) was so perfect that I could find even a 30-year-old paper in not more than one minute. One would not find a paper lost anywhere, but attached with a relevant file… but now everything is changed here,” he said.

For the record, Mungantiwar is well-known for his meticulous ways of correspondence, follow-ups and documentation. People recall how he would save them expensive efforts of travelling to Mantralaya from far-flung Chandrapur to get their work done. Then he was an MLA and managed his office in his way with a personal staff who knew what he wanted. The minister’s current agony seems to be a result of typical Mantralaya functioning!

Living life dangerously, needlessly
One wonders what makes people put their lives in danger for no reason other than the thrill of it. We’re not referring to mountaineering expeditions and the like, where a worthy goal is involved, but the apparent madness that grips people mainly, we note, men who do foolhardy things like crossing train tracks, performing stunts on trains and roads, driving dangerously and overloading vehicles.

A tiny scooter is not designed to carry five people, and eventually something could give way. Why ask for an accident to happen, Mr Family Man? Pic/Chirag Waghela
A tiny scooter is not designed to carry five people, and eventually something could give way. Why ask for an accident to happen, Mr Family Man? Pic/Chirag Waghela

Women are often equally at fault, and we are not surprised, as most women multi-task, and will do anything to shave a few minutes off a task or chore. But not when the task is crossing a road or a railway track, we say.

On a foggy morning when visibility is low, this youth insists on going across the tracks at Dombivli, although a train could appear at any moment, literally. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
On a foggy morning when visibility is low, this youth insists on going across the tracks at Dombivli, although a train could appear at any moment, literally. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

As the working week gets underway and we approach the middle of the year, we ask Mumbaikars to stop, think about what they are doing, and ponder whether the risk of losing life or limb is worth it.

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