Tag Archives: Mumbai

Things social media throws up…


… That may make you throw up.

As I was horsing around on Twitter today I found this tweet courtesy of a media house.

Let me give you some background on this groundbreaking quote. Earlier this week, the municipal corporation of Mumbai (where I reside) passed an order banning the sale of beef and mutton for four days, allegedly to appease the followers of Jainism, who began their annual 10 day fast on 10 Sep. Let me say that again. Ban on beef and mutton. Chicken was explicitly allowed to be sold, as were fish and eggs.

The over imaginative people that we are, we spent the last 4 days wondering why other “non veg” foodstuffs were exempt from the ban. We thought beef and mutton both pertain to meat obtained from sacred animals. (albeit sacred to different religions… The Hindus worship cows. Jainism is a religion that believes that ALL creatures are equally sacred.)
Than we thought they were trying to save us few bucks by asking us to buy cheaper meat for a few days.

But this logic had me stumped.
Fish are dead as soon as they are out of the water so they aren’t slaughtered??! Did they willingly fly out of the water and into the waiting nets? Or did they just love your pretty mug and decide to surface to “take a selfie” with a cute duck face? Lack of oxygen apparently implies that a creature isn’t slaughtered… So that’s probably a safe method to take care of your boss eh…?

I’m trying to be as respectful as I can about religions and how politicians interpret them to suit their needs. Because if we are truly a ‘secular’ country… This sort of ban says very little about how tolerant we are about others’ beliefs.
This kind of reasoning sets us back many many years… And make me wish that we never evolved to make it out of the waters in the first place.

P. S. As I wrote this post (through the course of the day) the corporation chickened out (tee hee) and was forced to retract the ban to just 2 days. We could argue that there is simply no rationale as to why a 2 day ban would make people of a religion feel less “offended” than usual… But maybe there’s a logic that will follow in a tweet tomorrow. Like how 2 is the only even prime number less than 10 (duh of course) and how even numbers are more auspicious than odd ones.

Do you have any ideas on why chicken is exempt from the ban? Tell me… Or tweet about it 😉

P. P. S. In a juicy twist to this meaty controversy, the High Court has (apparently read my blog and) stayed the ban on meat on the same grounds that I rubbished it in the first place – why only certain non-vegetarian foodstuffs and why only certain days!! While it is still unclear on whether I will be inducted into the bench in order to assist them in their future efforts to keep this city safe (and sane), this fellow vegetarian blogger is happy to announce that the ban has been er… banned. Two negatives make a positive. Math lives on!

3 things my city police does so well that I sometimes faint


… from laughing out loud.

As I walk/ride around this gem of a city called Mumbai, I am often treated to sights that… frankly have me on the floor rolling in laughter. Not surprisingly, many of them are courtesy of our super vigilant police force. Don’t get me wrong – I completely respect the effort the force puts in to keep our city safe every now and again… But I think sometimes they take a break and leave us in peels of laughter.
These are 3 things I’ve seen around the city that baffle me to the point of stomach cramps

1. Incorrectly placed signage

image

(If you can’t read/understand Marathi, here’s the translation:
Mumbai Police
Matunga Police Station (pertains to the locality where I nabbed this image)
Stop.)

Exhibit A is this beautifully constructed and exquisitely painted sign asking a vehicle to stop. Problem is… it is placed right behind an electricity junction box so that the only person who sees it is an unsuspecting pedestrian who maintains a ridiculous blog.
I took the cops seriously and stopped.
😀

2. Incorrectly positioned checkpoints
There is a faux checkpoint (because it is temporary construction and not cemented/bolted down) not far from where I work that I am forced to navigate every day. What makes this the most incorrectly placed checkpoint in the history of checkpoints (other than Checkpoint Charlie) is
a. It seems to serve no purpose since the cops don’t really frisk/ scan anything or anyone.
b. It is so strategically placed that it blocks 1 lane of a 2 lane approach road to a business district.
c. Sometimes it isn’t even manned!

So basically… It’s a blockade in the wrong place and (during peak office traffic) at the wrong time. While on foot once, I asked a cop what the checkpoint was for. He answered, “Sahab bole laga ke gaadi ka checking karo, hum laga diye”. (Translation: My boss asked me to put it up and check vehicles, so we put it up). It still didn’t answer my question, but his answer was so sincere that I left him to his fate. And the traffic to its own.

P. S. Most days I pass by the checkpoint with a mix of laughter and anger, so I’ve never been able to steady a shot of the place. But I promise to make an honest attempt of sharing this most spectacular checkpoint for y’alls amusement.

3. Confusing parking/tow zones
I’ll start by accepting that I’m not quite sure who’s responsible for updating the signs informing people about parking zones… But since you have to get to the cops to get it ‘untowed’ I’d say the buck stops with them. I know the signs are put up by the traffic police… But I’m sort of unclear on whether it’s their job to update it or that of the municipality folks.
I am proud to state that my city is home to the most complicated parking zone signs ever seen (by me or you or any extra terrestrial creature). Exhibits B and C below explain how a particular side of the road is a no-parking zone on even (or odd) days. Even. Days. What’s next… quizzing me about parking on prime days??! Or Fibonacci days?! Or god forbid Perfect days?!

image

image

And I wonder how would you really enforce it…? Would you drive around as 12:01 am on the morning of the 3rd to tow away cars? And do you really expect me to set an alarm for 12:01 am every other day to re-park my car??! I don’t even see dog owners being as punctual!! At this rate I would need to invest in a smart car just to tell me which side of the road to park on (and smartly park itself on the other side at midnight).

P. S. I own a two-wheel one-gear bicycle. It has never been towed on odd or even days.

With a promise to bring you more earth-shattering news from the financial capital of India… This is me signing off.

Growing (up) pains


I am now a good week behind my assignments for the Blogging101 course, but no matter – I’m going to try catch up as much as I can and as often as I can. The assignment I am attempting today is to publish a post based on a blogging prompt. While I already DID a post on a prompt, I’m feeling a little generous (!) and have decided to grace y’all with another post.

The prompt today (The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “West End Girls.”) asks us to demographically describe where we live. Unfortunately, I (now) live in a city (and a part of a city) where the only discernibly distinguishing aspect of the population is that they live in the trains. Like literally. People in Mumbai leave their homes early in the day, have their morning cuppa and breakfast in the “Mumbai Local” (if they’re exceptionally lucky they are also treated to the in-train shower service, courtesy of the sliding doors that refuse to close or to stay shut), do a lot of their household chores in the train (I kid you not – I have seen people peeling and slicing vegetables, sewing buttons and knitting winterwear in the trains) and sometimes even their office or school work in the trains (hey teachers, if you blame students for illegible handwriting, now you know why; your forever dedicated students work on any surface they can find in the train to finish their homework. Respect, yo!).

I know loads of people who do not travel everyday by train (I think they’re downright stupid spending their time in traffic-packed roads in their tiny tiny cars instead of lounging luxuriously in the oversized train compartments, but, hey, that’s my opinion). Even they are not spared of the impact that the trains have on how this city lives – because if trains are delayed, your colleagues probably will be late and you just cannot get ready for that presentation in time; because a train strike means your classmate tasked with a section of the classwork will either be late or not arrive at all and that means you, the puny car traveller, will have more work to do.

So whenever I’m asked to describe what it is like where I live (and grew up), I can only really think of how the trains gave me some skills I could never have acquired anywhere else (like the ability to ask perfect strangers where they were getting off, just so I could get to rest my legs after a while; or how to haggle (or not) with the vendor to get the best price for those knockoff earrings that go perfectly with a dress you bought last weekend; or how to recognise the best oranges (or peaches, or guavas or sweet corn) in a bunch). I realise it doesn’t quite matter whether my locality was filled with affluent aristocrats, with middle-class meddlers or with the pauper population – its very likely their lives are just as intricately linked to the trains. How a mode of transport has such an impact on society is as much a testimony to the city as it is to the people of the city, but I’ll say this – whoever you are, if you’re in the city you’ve got to live with the trains.

As they say in Italy:

Quando finisce la partita, i pedoni, le torri, i cavalli, i vescovi, i due re e le due regine tutti vanno nello stesso scatolo
(When the chess game is over, the pawns, rooks, knights, bishops, kings, and queens all go back into the same box)

Signing off with a rush to make my 12:43 train…

The WOW effect of the World Cup


Generally I dont comment much on Cricket, cuz I sincerely feel that its not much of a sport, and more of entertainment. True, it may take some skill to learn to toss the ball at a fellow some 20 yards away, and then to slam the ball hard enough out of the stadium. But, I dont consider it sport – its not, say, football, or hockey, or athletics. It’s just cricket.

But I was reminded in this month how much it’s more than just entertainment to my fellow Indians. Late last month, the World Cup began, and many Indians began rescheduling their days to catch their favourite teams play. People mysteriously disappeared on inane meetings, feel violently ill and were terribly late in making flights on account of 22 lads running after 1 ball and 1 trophy.
For those who havent followed the World Cup, here’s a quick recap. India, England, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies advanced to the Quarter Finals from the League matches. India beat Australia (the resultant loss in man day, and the expected loss of another man day today is not counted as a loss in this context), Pakistan whitewashed West Indies, Sri Lanka defeated England and New Zealand triumphed the choker South Africans. Last evening, Sri Lanka beat New Zealand to book themselves a berth in the Finals.

And today, India plays Pakistan in what appears to be not just another semi-final but the most important match for India in this tournament. For a week now I have been receiving several humour laden messages referring to this match. Having Rajnikant on our team apparently makes us invincible… hell, I could make Rajnikant appear on any team!! Since Mohali is close to the border, people comment that our neighbours can ride a rickshaw home… getting to Mohali by air or train appears to be so expensive that they’d probably be better off on those rickety 3-wheelers. Shahid Afridi’s tryst with God seems hilarious… yet you must remember, God’s own team drew with England and lost to South Africa. References to the many other mails/messages I’ve received may not be appropriate for this public forum, but you get the point… some people have been spending valuable time in coming up with snide comments for the occasion.

And I find myself surrounded by cricket talk today. VT station appeared more than half empty. Churchgate station wore a forlorn look. The talk in the bus to work was about how India can best win the match today. The liftman glanced at his watch every 3 seconds like it was already 2 p.m. Friends posted status messages on how they were either off or allowed to work for half day today. People are already scouting for the nearest TV (we have one right in our office, so I’m rather strategically located). Many are overworking in the morning, so that disappearing post-lunch at least appears conscientious. And the fever rubs off.

So go on. Turn off your laptops and desktops. Take a break. Cheer madly at every four and six. Boo like crazy at every wicked ball. Take digs at whoever you can.

And enjoy the madness that is the World Cup.

Breaking News!


As I was travelling by train today, I saw quite a few people adorning… wait for it… SWEATERS!! After 3 years, Mumbai has once again pulled out its woolen wardrobe (3 years ago, many people had BOUGHT a sweater for the first time).

Why is this breaking news you ask? Mumbai generally doesn’t experience winter… it has 2 seasons – Monsoon and Summer. The general weather during winter months is pleasant, and devoid of extensive sun burns. But after a very long time, this year we have witnessed actually cooler-than-pleasant weather. This is an indication of the gradual weather shift the whole world has been experiencing, and while this bothers me very little (the pleasant weather makes the extensive travelling much more bearable), it reminds me of that documentary by Al Gore, and of the million other global warming documentaries we have all seen that suggests that THIS is rather bad.

Since I can do very little about it now (I’ve done my bit in reducing my carbon footprint), I’m just enjoying Mumbaikars dig out their black and grey pullovers, while I show off in my green, blue and maroon cardigans 🙂

I LUVV Mumbai


Yeah Yeah… the title of the post will most probably elicit sneers and comments from my out-of-Mumbai friends, but what the hell… I LUV the city and I’m proud to admit it. And I thought I may as well take the conversation I’ve had with my friend to a whole new level. 😉

Many will argue that this city is a land of No. No place. No greenery. No good roads. blah blah blah. N then they will say it is a land of Too much. Too many ppl. Too much money. Too much tension. Too much speed. Too much of a cost of living index. Too much to do, and no time to do it. And I will not defend it… most of it is probably true. But, I will say this – u can onli truly luv a city if u luv everything about it – both good and bad.

My friends from Delhi will now pounce on me, and tell me about the bad traffic scene in Mumbai. Well, at least this city has traffic sense, where ppl stay in a LANE (temme whr in Delhi ppl actually drive in lanes). Yeah, the traffic is bad, but if the company is good, it dont make a difference where u r does it. And besides, almost all metros have almost the same traffic issues when it comes to peak hours, so maybe the problem isnt the city, but the type of the city it is i.e. Metro. And besides, I luv being stuck in traffic… the sights around me are generally fun enuf to make up for it. Just yesterday, I saw a large sign hanging outside the Pizzeria turning (Churchgate) that said “Anand is Chess Master. Let him teach our politicians some right moves”. Where else wud u find such cheeky quotes…??!

My pals from Bangalore will be chill maadi-ing in the cool zone of Bangalore, and gaoding me to make the move to the much cooler city. Sure, I’d make the move, but then I’m told it takes almost 2 hours to go from almost anywhere to anywhere in the city, so I think I’d pass up the good weather for the reliable local trains, where the open windows bring about a good weather of their own.

Another friends tells me Mumbai is too crowded, and that the crowd saps the energy outta him. But most ppl in the city probably feel otherwise. If ne1 has ever travelled in a ladies compartment at office hours, u will most definitely have borne witness to the numerous fights that ppl have standing at the doorside, both at 9 am, when ppl are supposed to be gearing up for work, and at 6 pm, when ppl head home tired from work. My theory is that the crowd brings that energy out, but then again, its a theory.

I remember a time when I myself thought this city is worth onli to work in, and that living in another city makes good sense. But then I realised, once a Mumbaikar, always a Mumbaikar. Mumbaikars crave for the familiar sights and sounds of their city everywhere… they crave for the noise of the local trains while travelling in the Delhi Metro; they look around for a wada-pav where other ppl flock to a McDonalds; they are more than happy to wait in traffic, while other ppl cringe all around them. But most of all, they love to be in Mumbai, a city they can lovingly call Bombay, a city where the Marine Drive is a pleasure even when its crowded, a city where golas on the beach is a perfectly sane idea of an evening well-spent, a city where piping hot wada pavs can make ur day, a city where the 8:10 local is what ur morning schedule revolves around, a city where people are willing to give way to one another… a city they can call home.

P.S. I was just getting really irritated at work, and so I thought I would write something down. Feel free to ignore this if u wish, and comment if u wish.

The Mumbai Issue


Its been 2 weeks since the Mumbai debacle now, and the number of emails and blogs on this topic is mind bloggling. However, one must spend a few minutes on analysing if any of those measures are fruitful at all.

I saw this particular e-mail which an alleged citizen of Mumbai had written to an editor of a leading English Daily. Hilarious use of language, particularly distorting use of data, and more than anything – it seemed to reek with a sense of revenge; something NO Mumbaikar is akin to. Mumbaikars simply learn to live with the horrors of the past, and build their future on it, rather than fret about them and come up with non-existant solutions to an issue. Not that they arent angry – ask any citizen of Mumbai and he will speak at length about how he is angered by such attacks. But he will never direct this anger towards a source that cannot help him – he will approach the authorities (sometimes with the riots that Mumbai is famous for) who can assist him. He will never send an anonymous letter to an editor; an editor who is not a politician and who cannot rally for an issue.

I also witnessed a lot of ppl blogging for the first time after the incident. While this definitely helps them with improving their communication skills, it does very little to address the issue at hand. It doesnt feel all that good relieving the incident over and over again on various blogs. The emotions coming across on every blog are very much similar – shock, grief, anger, anguish. And all we can do is to read them, and feel for those who have lost.

Which comes to why I’m blogging about this issue at all. My loss is not as bad as many others’ I know. Nonetheless, I feel the need to let many ppl know that this is an issue close to my heart; it is not a journalistic venture for me at all. I am grieved by the loss of many others, and honestly wish that they may find the closure they so badly need.

For them I write…

Life goes on, as it always will
leaving noone with time to remain still.
In memory of those lives who have touched ours
let us savour their memories, in days and minutes and hours.

For those who grieve
closure is a breath of relief.
And for those who have lost in this war
wear this wound like a battle scar.

Disappointments galore


Luks like everything this week is onli disappointing….First England crash out of the WC quarters to penalty shootouts (with almost every major Englishman missing the net) and then Brazil lose in style to France (wihtout even scoring a goal). True, I was rooting for Germany and tht neither of these teams were my favourites, but to see 2 very strong sides lose to sumthn tht was known as their strength in a year they were both strong contenders to win makes me wonder if I was wrong to follow such a game at all.

And the rains hv been equally disappointing. I mean, raining on a Sunday made sense, but heavy rains on Monday morning was just wrong timing. Thankfully, I dint even venture out, but the city slackened its pace it is so well known for, my teacher actually taught (even tho her audience was 50 students in a combined class of 110). Technically, I onli missed 3 adjustments in cash flow statements, but we were planning a muvie today, n the rain so magnificently ruined my plan. Nonetheless, I rented out a muvie (read: Fanaa cannot b classified in tht category after I saw it), and I regreted the decision halfway into it. So a disappointing attempt at movie watching.

And somehow, my mood has been as gloomy as the weather. I’ve been behaving odd wid my pals, my mood seems off most of da time n even my sense of humour luks diluted. So a disappointing mood to b in as well…

Takin it on frm thr…my favourites Germany crashed out, we had no more rains (ya nw I m complaining for no rains) n today we had this series of blasts ripping accross de city. I mean honestly these nutcracks are so jobless and so unconstructive…they totally disrupted traffic frm 6 in de evening and even nw at 12 as I type, thr r sum of pals who havent been contactable, sum stranded in buses, and sum doing the safest thing n bunking at a nearby frnds place. And even in this situation, de onli thing tht is nt disappointing is de spirit of de city. Ppl r rushin to railway stations affected wid food and water for ppl stranded and voluntarily taking de injured to hospitals. De dissapointing bit…de police reached every site after abt 2 hrs; n they dint even help much-they asked fellow citizens to help clear de debris. N to top it all, thrs a new enquiry on this serial blast. I mean cum on, is our govt so out of cases tht they can device so many cases, and solve thm at will. Or is it tht they r tryin to make a point? Wateva their pt…we dnt seem to get it; not yet at least.

And for sum final messages frm a gloomy blogger.

I’ll sign off with a few things to say to sum ppl (if they happen 2 read this…). Lissen to these lines n c if u can make sense of it

I dont know what to do
now that the world is crashing on me
I have the noisy silence to fall back to
or I could just set the silence free.

Dnt get me wrong buddy…mebe silence speaks a lot more for me. Ciao 😉