Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Tales

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

Signal failure for pedestrians
For motorists, they are a nuisance. For bikers, they are pests. Perhaps only the BEST bus drivers give pedestrians any “bhaav” (worth), considering they are the bulk of their passengers.

In the absence of enough allotted time, people have no choice but to dodge traffic and cross at the Bharat Mata Cinema junction
In the absence of enough allotted time, people have no choice but to dodge traffic and cross at the Bharat Mata Cinema junction

Even they knock down the odd pedestrian now and then, though. Considering that walking is deemed to be one of the best forms of exercise, it is pitiful that pedestrians are given short shrift in the city of Mumbai.

Not just by vehicle drivers and riders, but by the very traffic department itself. Have you ever wondered how long it would take you to cross Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road? It’s a two-way road with three lanes on each side. About half a minute, perhaps? Less, if you sprint.

According to the traffic department, people crossing the road are Usain Bolt successors, because the traffic signal on Ambedkar Road, at the Bharat Mata Cinema junction (Comrade Krishna Desai Chowk), allows pedestrians all of a princely four (yes, 4) seconds to cross it.

Anyone law-abiding enough to wait for the pedestrian signal to turn green before crossing would find themselves facing an onslaught of traffic, because four seconds only takes you half-way through one side of the road. Pedestrians? Who cares about them anyway!

It’s that time of year again
With the rainy season having started, Ganpati idol makers from Hamrapur and Pen have begun sending their works to the city, in preparation for Ganesh Chaturthi. Artists in Mumbai will then bring the idols to completion with paints.

Ganpati idols on the way to be painted by artists in the city. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
Ganpati idols on the way to be painted by artists in the city. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

Hamrapur, which is 98km from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and lies beyond Panvel, has several factories producing idols, many of which are sent directly to other countries. Artists from here as well as from Pen say they prefer to stay and work in the village and not seek jobs in the big cities.

Are the men getting it?
Is it an actual civil rights campaign? Is it parody of the men’s rights movement? Or is it just some cheap publicity stunt? Whatever it may be, the #DontMancriminate campaign is in ‘Bad Taste’ and seems to have backfired.

All social media platforms are on fire with witty responses to the campaign posters, which feature badly modified (“Photoshopped”) Hollywood celebs like Jude Law and Rob Lowe. While the campaign questions gender equality and the lack of pats on the back for the “forgotten gender”, all it manages is to become a target of ridicule.

One poster reads, “I don’t get free drinks. I don’t get free entry. I don’t get sympathy.”, another says, “When you slapped me, I was wrong. When I slapped you, I have anger issues.”

And it’s not just women who are finding the idea ‘gross’. Here’s one ‘man’ who tweeted, “Girls! We know you’ll be groped & harassed in here by gross dudes who don’t respect your boundaries, but FREE DRINKS!” But as with all campaigns on the world wide web, this too has garnered supporters.

One ‘gentleman’, Varun Choudhary, tweets, “In pursuit of Women Empowerment we have Indeed demolished the value of Men. Taken 4 Granted. #DontMancriminate.” Another, Rohit Girdhar, writes, “Feminists are discriminating based on gender. Crime has no gender. #dontmancriminate... Men r not being able to see their kids even when they are paying maintenance owing to false cases.”

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