Mumbai Diary: Sunday shorts

Mar 23, 2014, 04:52 IST | MiDDAY Correspondent

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

Barry gets cranky
Barry Richards, the former South Africa player, who once excelled in television commentary too, hates mediocre cricket.

His latest rant was directed towards Bangladesh who lost to Hong Kong off all teams on Thursday in a first round game of the ICC World T20.

Richards fumed on Facebook saying he always felt that Bangladesh is a good club side and runs scored against them “should be relegated to club records!” What annoys Richards more is that cricket rulers encourage mediocrity but refused to give an official endorsement to cricket games played during Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket where

Richards got runs against some of the best fast bowlers ever in the history of the game. Point made, Sir.

Oh fish!
THE Vashi creek seems to have become the new hotspot — sadly not for picnics but for those wanting to end their lives — a fact that has local fishermen worried. 

Fishermen say they are not merely witnessing several incidents but also spending a lot of their time trying to save these desperate men and women from drowning instead of catching fish. Surprisingly (or perhaps not) they blame Hindi films for the rising ‘popularity’ of the bridge as a vantage point to jump off into the sea. One angry fisherman told this diarist that since the release of the film Aashiqui 2, where the hero leaps into the water, from the bridge, the creek has seen a dozen suicide attempts. “Aashiqui 2 release zalya natar he tras jasta vaadle ahey” (after the release of Aashiqui 2 this trouble has increased) he told us, before signing off with a message that hadn’t struck us: “If you want to eat fresh fish, please let us fish in peace. Don’t come here to jump.”

Bearded menace
The Mumbai police holds several drives at regular intervals, be it against drunk-driving, illegal firearms or jay walking. But the one campaign they never tire of, it seems, is a drive against bearded men. Of course there is nothing ‘official’ about this drive. It is just that the cops keep detaining, frisking and harassing all bearded men at railway stations or other public places — much like we hear of harassment faced by some people at foreign airports.

This diarist, who sometimes keeps his beard long, has had to bear the brunt of this unofficial drive more than once.

On Friday, it happened again when he was stopped by cops at CST, taken to a room, frisked and asked several personal questions. On being asked why they suspected him of being a threat, they said, “Arre, apni dari dekhi kya?” (Have you seen your beard?).

Better to be clean-shaven in this city then, or it’s likely that the authorities will take you to be a bearded menace.

Every dog has its day
Dogs and humans share much of the footpath along both sides of the Tulsi Pipe Road near Dadar station. While there is nothing extraordinary in this — dogs have always been man’s best friends and the poor in Mumbai do live on footpaths. But what we saw the other day made for a heartwarming sight. 

It was peak traffic time and as cars whizzed past, scared toddlers huddled against their mothers inside their ‘footpath homes’. Suddenly one noticed a tiny furry head sticking out between two children and their mother in one such shed. A few metres away another dog made itself comfortable. Even in their six feet by six feet ‘home’ on the footpath, these poor men and women had made space for their best friends to walk in and seek refuge in times of chaos. We don’t know if the owners of any of the cars whizzing past cared to slow down to notice this sight. If they did, perhaps some of them would have gone home wiser, having learnt a thing of two about magnanimity.

Inspired all
While the just-concluded fashion week was relatively controversy-free (unlike a few other shows in the past), there were those who spoke in hushed tones about a designer who had copied a few designs from another and a third who always seemed to be ‘inspired’ by others instead of coming up with original ideas. “There is so much inspired stuff going around. It’s all very inspirational” joked a senior designer.

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