Mumbai diary: Sunday Shorts

May 24, 2015, 08:54 IST | Clayton Murzello, Anu Prabhakar and Anju Maskeri

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

Down with results fever
On the eve of the board exam results, this diarist spotted a young boy pacing around the neighbourhood garden anxiously. He sighed when asked about why he looked so serious, and confided that he can't stand the thought of going home as the pressure was just too much to bear. "I will do well didi. I am confident about that.

Pic for Representational Purpose Only
Pic for Representational Purpose Only 

I just hope my friends won't do well so that my parents won't go berserk," he laughed. Turning serious, he explained that every year, students like himself are under such stress that they begin to hate going back home. "Did you know I was not allowed to watch TV for almost two months?

All I did was stare at my books," he said. We nodded sympathetically as he ranted and finally asked what he wanted to become in life. "I have huge plans for myself. I want to become a start-up CEO," he grinned.

BEST is great at times
It was quite late in the evening. The bus, which only had a few passengers, cruised along a nearly empty road, when the vehicle suddenly came to a screeching halt, followed by a thud and an 'ouch'. An elderly gentleman, who wanted to alight at the next stop, lost his balance and fell, his head hitting the seat.

After a short spell of silence, there was a cacophony of shouts. "Can't he drive properly", "BEST drivers are always like this", "Passenger safety is not in their minds at all," and so on. The driver, having heard enough of this, emerged from his seat at the top of the aisle. He must have been around 30 years of age, almost 6 feet tall and well-built. The passengers fell silent, anticipating a slinging match.

Waving to the passengers, the driver spoke in the gentlest of tones, expressing regret that a gentleman the age of his father had been hurt. He said that he was a married man and was responsible for his two school going kids, wife and parents. As the driver of the bus, his responsibility was to drive safely, and had he not slammed the brakes, as he did, he would have knocked down a pedestrian, who had suddenly come in front of the bus, and killed him.

He would have lost his job and his family would have been without their sole breadwinner. Also at such times, the safety of the passengers becomes a secondary issue. Finally, he wished the gentleman a speedy recovery and added that he will pray for him, before returning to his seat. The ensuing silence was broken by a person from one of the back seats. He shouted that the elderly person would not have fallen had he held on to the strap or back of the seat tightly. The driver had certainly done a Mark Anthony.

Wadekar would have been a pilot
Not often do cricketers get asked to write or speak about their desk jobs. Former India captain Ajit Wadekar did, and came up with an interesting piece in the recently-released Wisden India Almanack 2015 published by Bloomsbury India.

Ajit Wadekar at his State Bank of India office in the 1970s. Pic/mid-day archives
Ajit Wadekar at his State Bank of India office in the 1970s. Pic/mid-day archives 

Wadekar writes about how he got bored of his first job after his post graduation and joined State Bank of India in 1965. He retired in 2001 as executive director of SBI Commerce and Factoring Ltd.

When he was first interviewed for the job in 1965, he was "gently" told by the SBI managing director that his future would depend on his work and not cricket scores. And LP Jai, a former Mumbai batsman and a State Bank man, said to him that while he was happy to learn about his cricketing exploits at Ranji Trophy level, he would have to concentrate on "bank work" too.

Wadekar served the bank well and several cricket fans recall getting a Wadekar-signed miniature bat for opening an account in State Bank. Another revelation in Wadekar's piece comes in the form of him coming close to being an Air Force pilot after passing his initial tests at Dehradun. But then, he entertained the "prestigious" probationary officer offer from State Bank. Indeed, Wadekar flew high.

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