Mumbai Diary: Monday musings

Apr 14, 2014, 09:01 IST | Sundari Iyer, Vidya Heble

Television commercials are sometimes irritating, but often entertaining

Maid in bad taste
Television commercials are sometimes irritating, but often entertaining. Now and then, however, one comes along which manages to convey the wrong message in the process of selling its product. A recent sight on our TV screens is an ad for a shopping website, that features a domestic helper who says that the family she works for is into saving money. In closing, she smirks, “Washing machine? Madam asking toh no, main askoongi na… toh click click.” On the last word we see a smiling man apparently e-shopping. Apart from the infuriatingly demeaning word “askoongi” which we doubt exists in any Hinglish lexicon, no matter how informal, there is the very clear message the ad sends out — that the head of the household will buy a washing machine if the maid asks for it, but not if the lady of the house wants it.

Previously, ads which cast domestic helpers in a negative light have been criticised — such as one that showed a maid stealing a mobile phone. The implication in this ad also does domestic helpers a huge disservice, and we are only surprised that organisations such as the National Domestic Workers’ Movement (NDWM) for example have not condemned this ad and called for its removal.

No time for media
ROYAL Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli seemed to be in such a hurry to board the flight to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates — when the team play their first Indian Premier League (IPL)match against Delhi Daredevils on April 17 — that he preferred to skip interacting with the media. He was in the city yesterday for the announcement of the team’s partnership with a leading ICT solutions provider. 

MUM’S THE WORD: Virat Kohli. Pic/Prashant Waydande

“I need to leave for the airport. I need to go play the IPL. If you don’t want to see me in the IPL, then that that is a different story. I need to leave in five minutes otherwise I will miss my flight,” he said.

Even as cricket pundits blame the IPL for player fatigue with an already packed international calendar, Kohli who was adjudged player of the tournament at World Twenty20 felt otherwise. “The more we enjoy cricket, it will be that much better in IPL. In IPL there is a lot of enjoyment of players. Everybody is relaxed coming from international schedule.

There is a good atmosphere and we will try to utilise it,” said the 25-year-old.

Even as the team has entertained cricket lovers the title has been elusive and he hopes to win it this time around.

“We try to win every year. This time around because we have got a good combination we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy. We have added a few more quality players in the side and I am sure we will come out with flying colours.”

Stumbling blocks in the party zone
City partygoers are familiar with Mathuradas Mills at Lower Parel, as it houses several high-end restaurants and pubs. Come nightfall the place is bustling with activity, and taxiwallahs have a field day when happy, not-so-shiny people stagger out of the gates in the wee hours. But, as we reported last week, the environs outside these nightspots, within the mill compound premises, are far from swank. The haphazard parking, overcrowding and busy vehicular movement within the cramped space makes it a sitting duck for a fire mishap.

Danger zone: Pedestrians risk mishaps at Mathuradas Mill compound. Pic/Satyajit Desai

Another point we noted, when we dropped by recently, is that while the mill compound is known for posh hangouts, the public access to these places is really down-market, to say the least. We had left our taxi at the gate to avoid the narrow driving conditions inside, but we didn’t realise that we would have to walk through a minefield of uneven ground, with loose stones and mini-potholes waiting to trip us up at practically every step. And we weren’t even wearing high heels. Add to that the fact that the lighting isn’t great, just reaching our destination was like achieving a milestone.

This led us to wonder, with so many top-notch establishments in the premises, why don’t they join hands and make their public access better? Why wait for the authorities to “do something”?

Foot soldiers in health war
IN THE battle against disease, health workers are the oft-overlooked foot soldiers who monitor the population’s health at the grassroots level, and are often the first responders in times of crisis. Many of us will be familiar with the knock on the door and the health worker asking about any symptoms, whether there are children under five in the household, etc. If this may seem annoying to some, remember that these workers ask the very same questions again and again, to each and every household they cover. The least they deserve is a smile.

The other day, one of our colleagues opened the door to a young lady who was checking on immunisations. It was just after noon on a typically blazing hot summer’s day, and the woman had trudged up two flights of stairs in a building without a lift. Our colleague invited her in to sit for a few minutes and have a glass of water. The woman hesitated and our colleague assured her, “It is filtered water.” She then smiled, accepted the glass of water and was thankful for the small break.

“Not many people understand how tiring our life is,” she said in parting.
Our hats go off to the city’s health workers!

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