Mumbai Diary: Wednesday whispers

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

Flower power of the pen
The local trains are a moveable feast for the shopaholic. From vegetables to nightgowns, footwear to makeup, the train-borne vendors have it all. Most fascinating are the youths who hoist their sturdy hooks bearing a cornucopia of household goods.

A vendor in a local train selling the flower-shaped pens
A vendor in a local train selling the flower-shaped pens

And practically every week seems to bring in a new “item”. The latest to catch our eye is the flower pen. It’s hard to miss, with vendors on most lines toting bunches of these brightly-coloured pens, made of a rubbery material and shaped like pretty flowers at the non-writing end.

For Rs 10 each, they’re an irresistible buy, and our office is already sporting a few of them. While the computer has replaced the writing instrument to a great extent, these pens are however good for placing next to your landline telephone for jotting down quick messages, or in the stationery holder on your desk. The bonus is that the flower brightens up your desk and you don’t even have to water it!

Keep an eye on this tournament
Cricket is in the air not to mention the airwaves but today, at the Islam Gymkhana on Marine Drive, a very special cricket tournament begins. It is the National Blind Cricket Tournament, being held from January 22 to 24, from 10am to 5pm with a 1pm-2pm break. Two matches in 20-20 format will be held per day.

Come on and cheer the players at Islam Gymkhana, Marine Drive
Come on and cheer the players at Islam Gymkhana, Marine Drive

Eight teams are participating Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab. Readers may recall that India won the Blind Cricket World Cup in South Africa (defeating Pakistan), and some of the World Cup heroes are also scheduled to play in the national tournament. That’s something worth cheering for!

Berries that wear a cape
These little golden globes are very seasonal and often confusing, as the Hindi name for them is rasbhari (filled with juice), and sounds like “raspberry” to the uninitiated ear. Don’t be confused, and if you find them at your local fruit-wallah’s, don’t pass them by. They are sourced from Agra and are selling at Rs 150 per kg.

Rasbhari in the local market. Pic/Ankoor Anvekar

The fruit, which are called cape gooseberries (Physalis peruviana), also grow wild, though smaller, along the Konkan coast. You can eat the sweet-sour berries by themselves (discard the papery “cape”, of course), or make jam with them. Rasbhari is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and is a good source of vitamin C.

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