As the last day of this year dawns and we roll on to a new decade in 2011, a look at how the city has transformed in the past 10 years
The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) ground at Bandra Kurla Complex has virtually become the headquarters of Mumbai cricket after the Wankhede Stadium was closed for renovation to get ready for the World Cup 2011. It is a familiar venue for Wasim Jaffer's Mumbai team although some pundits reckon the track is too much in favour of the batsmen. The ground has also an indoor facility where one can spot former Test wicketkeeper Chandrakant Pandit either passing on a tip to a budding cricketer or getting things organised.
The Mumbai marathon, the city's seminal event that got Mumbaikars putting on their running shoes and giving it their all from their heart and gasping-for-air lungs began in 2004. Prior to the race that has changed lifestyles of so many Mumbaikars there were sporadic runs for charity and different causes all over the city but it is the Mumbai marathon that made running into a mass movement. From celebrities who lent the race a glamour quotient to ordinary mortals -- a thousand feet pound the Mumbai roads every January, as runners seek to eat up the searing 21-km and 42-km distances. Meanwhile, the race continues to grow in participation and stature. The formidable Kenyans give the city a glimpse of their amazing athletic prowess and the Indians are catching up slowly with the world beaters. The event is to be run on January 16, 2011 this time.
The Sea Link
The most hyped transport link of the city, the Bandra Worli Sea Link (BWSL) had all its eight lanes opened to traffic this year. As it is with most hi-profile projects, political parties vied with each other to get a piece of the Sea Link pie. Finally, after some controversy the Sea Link was named the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link, though, for most Mumbaikars it remains just the Sea Link. In January 2010 the Mumbai marathon included the Sea Link on its route, though one suspects the tired amateurs were not in a frame of mind to appreciate its beauty. Now, of course, there is talk about the second phase, from Worli to Haji Ali and finally, Haji Ali to Nariman Point. It would not take an astrologer to predict that the subsequent phases would be as hyped and controversial as the first.
Dance pe chance
After the sound of the whirr of wheels of commerce and industry fell silent in Mumbai, the city nightlife came alive to dance numbers. Dance bars were at their peak ten years ago, a part of the Mumbai fabric. Patronised by politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and students alike the dance bars were, some said a manifestation of the city's seedier underbelly. Yet, their popularity was never in doubt. The star started fading with a ban in 2005 followed by legal battles. Since then, reports stated several dance girls have taken to prostitution for survival. The dance bar culture has been stamped out and the star has been fading never mind a few valiant efforts at some kind of revival.u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0
The Sea Rock
The Bandra Bandstand area witnessed a change after the Sea Rock hotel closed down earlier and was finally demolished this year. The Sea Rock was an iconic Western suburban structure, much in demand with the Bollywood crowd, for coffee (at that time, coffee haunts like the Caf ufffd Coffee Day, Barista and others) were yet to mushroom in Mumbai. In 1993, the hotel was targetted in the Mumbai serial blasts and shut down soon after. It left a void because at that time as most swanky hotels were concentrated in South Mumbai. Now, of course, there is a hotel boom in Mumbai with upscale hotels coming up in several areas from the Western suburbs to central pockets like Parelu00a0 mirroring the growth of the city.
The spirit of evolution is not dead (literally). This postmortem centre at Nair Hospital is very different than the one ten years ago.u00a0
A decade ago, when the Nair Hospital mortuary would be the worst city run morgue with bloodstains all over the floor and unclaimed dead bodies piling up.
A decade later, the post-mortem centre at Nair Hospital, Mumbai Central is the only one in the city to have been awarded an ISO 9001:2000 certification for quality.
This mortuary has become an example for other city morgues, which are in need of an urgent uplift. Dead bodies at the post-mortem centre do not raise a stink.
A machine has been installed here that sprays deodorant every few minutes. The post-mortem centre has been given a new look a corporate interior and better working conditions.
Normally, decomposed bodies and dry blood invite dangerous bacteria, which endanger the health of staffers and those visiting the mortuary.
"To keep the mortuary germ-free, air purification system has been installed at this autopsy centre," said Dr Shailesh Mohite, professor and head of the department of Forensic Medicine.
Moreover, to facilitate relatives of deceased, the centre has also put up notice boards at the entrance of the centre.
The boards mention the procedure to obtain a death certificate, claim insurance and even the process followed for conducting autopsy.
Besides, this is the only city centre that has put up contact numbers of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials and senior doctors at the hospital for complaints about corruption or any kind of hardship they may be put through because of the staff, ended body cutter, Ganesh Kamble.
Rifle In Peace
The Mumbai police have done away with trusty old .303 rifles and replaced them with self-loading rifles (SLR), according to a recent government resolution (GR). The central Home Ministry has instructed director generals of police in all states to ensure the .303 rifles are replaced.u00a0
Officials said the Pradhan committee observed during its 26/11 probe that Mumbai police did not have modern, sophisticated weaponry. "The .303 weapon is obsolete," Union Home Secretary GK Pillai said, while confirming the development to MiD DAY. "However, .303 guns will still be used to train police recruits."
They will also be used during ceremonial occasions such as state day parades, for instance. Pillai said the process of collecting and disposing the old rifles would be done in phases. In May, the Maharashtra government passed a resolution, instructing all police stations to stop using .303 rifles, said senior officials of the state
Local arms officials said all the 89 police stations in Mumbai have been intimated about the new guidelines. "We have already stopped using .303 rifles and are using carbines and SLRs," said Senior Police Inspector Prakash George of Bandra police station.
Pillai said local police armouries would send old rifles to ordinance factories, where they would be dismantled and used in other firearms. "When new SLRs are distributed, the .303 rifles will be deposited at police armouries. All old rifles will finally land at the Naigaum armoury," Maharashtra Home Department officials said.
"From there, old rifles will be sent to a central depot in Pune."
This rifle too will be relegated to the pages of history like the Lee-Enfield bolt-action, magazine-fed repeating rifle which was the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century. It was the British Army's standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957.
The 55,000-capacity stadium in Nerul has been one of the best things to have happened to Mumbai cricket in terms of infrastructure. The stadium successfully hosted big games of the Indian Premier League (IPL) since it kicked off in 2008. Its international debut - a one-day international between India and Australia - was washed out in November 2009. It also hosted the final of the Indian Premier League 2010, which Chennai Super Kings won by beating hosts Mumbai Indians.
SunGrace Mafatlal cricket team was regular in the premier division of the Times Shield,u00a0 the firm stopped fielding their top team after 2003. SunGrace Mafatlal had some big stars in Indian cricket on their team sheet like Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Sandeep Patil and Nayan Mongia. The Mafatlals were quick to 'adopt' Tendulkar and Kambli after their record 664-run partnership in schools cricket, a feat which made it to the Guinness Book of World Records. The SunGrace team was formed after Nirlon decided to disband their team. Nirlon though has now revived their cricketing activity and won the Times Shield 'F' division.
The Cricket Centre at the Wankhede Stadium that houses the offices of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Mumbai Cricket Association and the Indian Premier League is the powerhouse of Indian cricket. Considering how shabby the BCCI's office was at the North Stand of the Brabourne Stadium, this is heaven. It has added a professional touch to how cricket is run here. It is to be seen whether the building will be open to public if and when the long-awaited cricket museum is set up there.
Cousins and politicians who laugh together stay together ufffd that was what Mumbai thought when they saw Balasaheb Thackeray the tiger, with two of his cubs, son Uddhav and nephew Raj. Now, though like a jagged streak of lightning cleaving things apart, Raj has gone his own way with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) while the relatively lower profile Uddhav sticks with dad and Shiv Sena. With both parties using the 'mee Marathi' plank and often hurling accusations at each other, this is the state's rivetting political battle being played out in full public view. A few cynics still claim that the Thackeray family will eventually unite and the spat is a bit of political hoodwinking. Right now though, it is Uddhav-Raj no bhai-bhai, the cousins and chaddi-buddies look like sticking to different paths next year too.
It was the in thing to have it beep on your person. Just before the cell phone revolution, POI (Persons of Importance) we call them, had pagers stuck to their persons like we now have cell phones to our ears. Some would say, "one minute, I will just page her." Some others would say proudly, "My company has given me a pager." All this sounds quite laughable in the 'ping' age where people BB each other on their Blackberries. Pagers now sound a little like ancient man who rubbed two stones together to light a fire and cook his food. So outdated dahling in this age of modular kitchens.
The Rovers Cup football tournament, which saw the cream of Indian footballers in action, was sadly missed during the last decade. The last time this tournament was held was in 2000-2001, when Mohun Bagan defeated Churchill Brothers 2-0 in the final. This tournament, the second oldest in the country after the Durand Cup, always drew a huge response. The Cooperage ground, venue of the event, witnessed fansu00a0 throng to the stadium to support their favourite clubs from football crazy cities like, Kolkata, Goa and Kerala. This brought out the best from the players as they played with passion and commitment to claim the coveted trophy. The AIFF's premier competition, the I-League (earlier NFL), hardly evokes the same response as compared to the Rovers Cup. The Western Indian Football Association made attempts to revive the tournament, but in vain. The main reason is because the leading clubs are busy participating in the NFL (National Football League), which was launched in 1996-97 and later changed to the I-League in 2007-08. Without the main clubs it's pointless conducting this tournament as it would also be difficult to rope in the sponsors.