Mumbai Diary page: Sunday shorts
The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Monsoon leads to much amusement. At least we think so, given the nightmarish time Mumbaikars have reaching home or motorists have negotiating roads with craters. So, to look on the brighter side of things, we bring out a favourite monsoon pothole cartoon. The va va voom lady or page 3 lady (call her what you will) is enjoying a dip in a Mumbai pothole, favourite cocktail in hand.
Hmmm, like they say: Commuters on our roads are sure to find Potholes of the deepest kind. The grouches may rave ‘n’ rant, The wise enjoy it cocktail in hand.
The best way to deal with potholes is with humour and some mirth
Football fever goes big
We are like that only. When it comes to football, 80 per cent Indian football fans cry when Brazil loses. The other 20 forsake food if Argentina have a poor game. It was no surprise then to come across a 30 feet statue of Brazilian superstar Neymar in a city mall the other day. It was the weekend, yet hundreds of shoppers ignored the large ‘Sale’ signs to pose next to the static figure instead. But even as the arguments raged, came the shocking news that Neymar had been ruled out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with a leg injury. There was a hushed silence. Then a voice cried out: “Maybe they should replace this one with Lionel Messi now.” No, the Brazil fans weren’t amused!
Wherever you travel in the world, you will find Indians. Especially in Switzerland. While walking along Lake Zurich or taking the cable car to Mt Pilatus, all you hear are a variety of Indian languages and accents. And this is reflected in the signages too. At Mt Pilatus, there’s a big welcome sign in Hindi saying ‘Swagatum’ (see pic). At Mt Titlis, there’s a life-size cut-out of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol with DDLJ emblazoned on it, in the middle of the terrace at the top. Perhaps the most significant are the signs in Zurich Zoo. There is a Gir Lions section, with prominently displayed signs in Gujarati and Hindi (‘Sinh née Raksha Karo’). This is the same zoo that recreated the tropical forest of Madagascar and the newly-opened Elephant Park of Thailand.
PS: The Gujarati signs have been there for some years now, well before Mr Modi became the Prime Minister! And at the foot of Mt Titlis, next to the car park at Engelberg, there is a food wagon called GourmIndia. It sells Masala Chai, Vada Pav and Samosas and is run by an enterprising Parsi lady.
Taxi drivers often make profound statements unwittingly. While some of them have no qualms diverging personal details at the drop of a hat, others end up vocalising their observations about mankind. Lately, yours truly encountered both these kinds. Recently, a cabbie, after chastising this diarist for talking to him in Hindi, our national language, rather than Marathi, our regional language, boasted proudly about his daughter, who is now studying MBBS, can speak fluent English. While one nodded one’s head in appreciation, what came next left us dumbfounded. “Meri beti dikhne mein ek dum item hai,” he said. Here’s one proud father, it seemed. The next day, this diarist met an old gentleman who has been driving a taxi since the last 35 years. When asked how did he managed to maintain his sanity maneuvering his vehicle in traffic jams and on pothole-ridden roads, he sighed and said, “Beta, yeh sab toh insaan phir bhi jhel sakta hain. Par ab toh aadmi hi aadmi ka dushman ho gaya hai. Duniya mein humdardi aur insaniyat raha hi nahin.” Well said!