Mumbai Diary page: Friday frolics

Feb 20, 2015, 08:28 IST | Contributed by: Hemal Ashar, Fiona Fernandez, Vidya Heble

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

A safe journey for all
People taking taxis and autorickshaws in the city, especially women, have reason to be nervous unlike in “the old days” when one could move around with the only worry being whether one’s pocket would be picked.

The identity document in a rickshaw in the Western suburbs. Pic/Uday Devrukhkar
The identity document in a rickshaw in the Western suburbs. Pic/Uday Devrukhkar

But with assaults on women reported even in high-end cabs, as well as autorickshaws, it is time to be concerned. We spotted, in several autorickshaws in the suburbs both Central and Western information about the vehicle, the driver, his licence and particulars including photograph.

The ID document in Thane rickshaws includes a scannable QR code
The ID document in Thane rickshaws includes a scannable QR code

Rickshaws in the Western suburbs include the owner’s photograph. While in the rickshaws in Thane, the identity sheet includes a QR code (SeQuRe code) which can be scanned by an Android mobile phone which has the ‘Safe Journey’ app.

And with telephone numbers to call in case of emergency, the ID cards are a reassuring sight. We just wish they would be made absolutely compulsory for all vehicles, both autorickshaws and taxis.

Stop, he says
Screeeeeeeeeeching to a halt. That is what we believe it is called. The Governor of Maharashtra and Chancellor of Universities in the State Ch Vidyasagar Rao has directed the Vice Chancellor of the University of Mumbai Dr Rajan Welukar to abstain from attending the office and from discharging his duties as Vice Chancellor of the University with immediate effect.

Pro Vice Chancellor of the University Prof Naresh Chandra has been asked to act as the officiating Vice Chancellor of the University. This is, until further orders. This decision comes in the light of orders by the Bombay High Court from time to time while hearing the petitions challenging the essential eligibility qualification possessed by Dr Rajan Welukar.

The High Court has directed a Search Committee to reconsider the question of the eligibility of Dr Welukar for the post of Vice Chancellor. So, even as controversy brews, one can only wonder and tch, tch in sorrow and frustration at the state of the Mumbai University. Once considered one of the finest in the country, it seems rudderless and beset by problems. Oh how the mighty hath fallen.

Catch Kane and Abel author in town
Jeffrey Archer, best-selling author and former politician, will be touring India to promote his new book, Mightier Than The Sword and Mumbai is on his itinerary.

Jeffrey Archer
Jeffrey Archer

Archer, who has churned out book after book, is best known, besides his magnum opus Kane and Abel, for giving us short stories with a twist. With scandal snapping at his heels at various points in his life, Archer even used his time in prison to write. His latest title is the fifth and final book in the Clifton Chronicles series.

Archer will be at Crossword bookstore at Kemps Corner in the city, on March 2 at 7pm. Not just autographed copies, you may come away with interesting anecdotes too. Besides being a snappy raconteur (he has written plays and children’s books too, incidentally), Archer is also a cricket fan.

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