Mumbai Diary page: Saturday scene

Updated: Nov 08, 2014, 06:36 IST | Contributed by: Shakti Shetty, Chetna Sadadekar, Maleeva Rebello, Ankoor Anvekar, Vidya Heble |

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

Mobile helpline and a friend
Pregnant women from the slums in the city have a friend to call, literally. A Santacruz-based NGO, Advancing Reduction in Mortality of Mothers, And Neonates (ARMMAN), has started a helpline named M Mitra (Mobile Friend). Founded by Dr Aparna Hegde, the NGO works from Sion Hospital where women who come for checkups are asked for their number.

The ARMMAN team
The ARMMAN team

“Throughout the pregnancy, the mother is contacted by our call centre employees via mobile phones and told about health care. We also help book hospital beds for the mothers so they can deliver in hospitals nearest to their homes,” explains Dr Hegde.

The United Nations and some health product manufacturers and service providers have funded the NGO, which currently reaches around 10,000 pregnant women below the poverty line.

A matter of urgency
Week in and week out, we either witness ourselves or hear from others about a commuter losing his balance while getting into the train or while hanging on to the footboard or while alighting at a station. People do fall because of several reasons and one can only hope the damage is minimum, if not fatal. After all, Mumbai boasts of maximum casualties on the railway in the entire country.

The man lying in the centre of the crowd made it
The man lying in the centre of the crowd made it

A statistic strong enough to make the authorities realise that urgency matters when a commuter has slipped or tripped. Like we observed recently how railway workers at Kurla station responded when a man was unfortunate enough to fall from a running train, on Platform 5. The stretcher was immediately called upon and the wounded man was provided relief. Encouraging instances indeed.

Back to the future
It's an age when everything is increasingly automated, and machines do the “donkey work” for humans. Naturally, the fashion is to buck the trend and go in for all things manual, analog and handmade.

This sugarcane juice vendor is doing it the old-fashioned way. Pic/Ankoor Anvekar
This sugarcane juice vendor is doing it the old-fashioned way. Pic/Ankoor Anvekar

You can see this in stores which showcase things like funkily painted tin teakettles and refurbished sewing machine bases, which go for hefty sums. But this is an upmarket fad - one would not really expect the man in the street to shun a labour-saving machine.

Which is why it was a surprise to see this sugarcane juice vendor in Belapur, not using the machine that is so familiar to us with its jingling rhythm. Instead, he is hand-operating the juicer which rotates 360 degrees and squeezes out the sweet stuff.

Bench those prices!
Rising prices of vegetables and commodities have us ordinary folk fretting but even municipal corporators are feeling the pinch, apparently. Even garden benches are not immune from astronomical price hikes, as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse discovered recently.

Phanse wanted to install some benches in a garden at Andheri west, but discovered that each bench was quoted at a price of Rs 58,000. The entire revamp of the garden would cost up to R 40 lakh whereas it had cost some Rs 15 lakh just five years ago.

Phanse, who had previously had such benches installed at a cost of Rs 20,000 each, said, “We knew the prices were hiked, but the scheduled prices of the BMC need to undergo a downward revision, otherwise the corporators’ fund also will fall short if such high prices are charged.”

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