Mumbai Diary: Thursday theme

Apr 10, 2014, 08:55 IST | Hemal Ashar, Waleed Hussain, Richa Pinto, Vidya Heble

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

Archie: Difficult to Digest
ON JULY 16 this year. a comic cult will come to an end as perpetual teenager Archie Andrews will die, sacrificing himself to save a friend in the pages of Life With Archie #36. The world is abuzz as the news was broken on on Tuesday. The ongoing comic will end with his death, and report say that Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater calls it a “natural conclusion.”

Mumbai libraries, which have been stocking the comics for decades, call it “sad”. Says A Merchant, proprietor of Victoria Circulating Library in Mahim, “This is tragic because these comics are popular even now. They are doing decently at our library, which now does not see that many foreign comics; the others are Tin Tin and Asterix. Just this January, we replenished our stock, which comes only periodically.” Archie and his gang enjoy great popularity locally, and their favourite hangout Pop Tate’s has several namesakes in the city. “Teenagers will miss him, of course, but the Riverdale redhead had plenty of readers amongst married women too,” ends Merchant with a laugh.

If amchi Mumbai’s Bettys and Veronicas are going to be disappointed, so are those in their 40s, 50s and 60s, says Shemaroo Circulating’s manager Bipin Maroo. “Archie had fans across the age spectrum, we have been stocking comics over the past 50 years and never once has there been a dip in popularity. It is so surprising and sad to hear Archie is going to die mid-year,” said Maroo. Then, the manager of the Kemps Corner library perked up and said with a laugh, “Maybe, readers will come together and protest in Mumbai and across the world!” Obviously, never mind what the comic creators feel, readers still have a Jughead Jones appetite for the teenage hero and its characters.

Working lunch
There are a few professions that do not allow people the luxury of enjoying public holidays, and one of those is that of the police. On Tuesday afternoon (Ram Navami) when we stepped into the cabin of a senior Railway Police inspector, there was a woman seated there, whom the officer introduced as his wife. A reporter is never happy without questioning everyone in sight, so the officer’s wife was asked what she was there for. She replied with a laugh, “Since my husband’s job does not allow him to enjoy a meal with his family on public holidays, I decided to bring a lunchbox myself to share with him.” We’ve heard of people taking their work home — this is a case of home coming to the workplace!

Press to release
Most emailed press releases these days carry an environmentally-friendly signature advising the recipient not to print the email unless really necessary. So imagine our consternation when we received a reminder about an earlier email — in the post. It consisted of the original email and its attachment, all printed out and neatly stapled! After we finished clutching our heads, we wondered whether this indicated a lack of intelligence or a lack of training.

The best form of flattery?
TALK about paying a compliment. While strolling in the downtown Fort area we spotted what looked like a twist on a well-known brand, at a streetside stall. The font and design look strangely familiar. Turns out it is a clever “re-make” of the classic European giant brand.

It's a shoe thing: Can’t afford the big brand? Head to the street stall, bindaas! Pic/Waleed Hussain

Should we say this is the long-lost little brother, separated in the Kumbh mela a la typical Bollywood films? Whatever it may be, it sure encapsulates the Mumbai spirit — bindaas! What next — another one called “jhakaas”?

Mask see
Paper masks of election candidates are a popular gimmick during the poll season, but sometimes the move can backfire, as “thinking man’s candidate” Nandan Nilekani may well find out. The masks of him have turned out looking rather scary, and as one commentator put it, “Thankfully, children can’t vote!”


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