Archive for July, 2006

Fresh chEATING…

I have got cheated. A lot of times; by friends…fate…and even sometimes by formless feelings too. But yesterday’s one was a little chimerical.

After meeting a guy in the Yahoo Lower Parel office, I went to a nearby Fresh Juice Stall. From the menu items recited by the waiter, I picked my favorite, Mango Milk Shake.

Ji Saab Thoda Rukhiye.. (Please wait sir) He told me.

I saw him jumping here and there with a little uncertainty across his face, and he disappeared for the next ten minutes. Then he appeared with the Mango Milk shake.

With the first sip, I felt something strange on my tongue. ‘No, this is not the Mango Milk Shake I wanted.’ With one more sip, this strangeness reverted to a kind of nostalgia, which reminded me of my glorious days with my father who used to buy me the blissfully tasted ‘Mangola’ whenever I used to go out with him.

I looked into the drink once again. The real shake came then. Instead of a real Mango Milk Shake, he poured in some local mango drink and a scoop of milk powder. Mango Milk Shake or Mango Milk Shock?

Anyway, with a fresh sip, I concluded that it was a Mangola Milk Shake.

I just called up the waiter and asked for the bill. He said 40 Rupees. Great entertainment! 8 rupees Mangola + 2 rupees milk powder = 40 rupees Mango Milk Shake. I couldn’t help asking him, ‘How many Mangolas’ have you poured in?’

He did not have answer for that, but had a solution; ‘Sir please gimme 25 rupees only’. Ceasefire! He made a new bill.
(By the way, guys this can be a great advertisement for Mangola)

Read Similar Stories at LIFE Since My Life

Meet Abodh Aras.

He’s a Mumbaiite who knows his way around the city, a blogger who puts up interesting posts, a staunch animal lover and a very kind man. Meet Abodh Aras – the CEO of the Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD). Once when I pointed out at how popular he was among the animal lovers’ circles he said that its the organisation and the cause that must become popular, because they are bigger than the individuals that come and go. I couldn’t help but agree.

We get to know Abodh a little better.


When was the first time you protested against a cruel act, how old were you then?

Don’t remember a cruelty incident specifically but I used to take dogs, cats and birds to the hospital for treatment since I was in school. I started volunteering with WSD in 1995 and after my MBA in 1996, I trained under a vet for 2 months and initiated the on-site first aid programme which treats stray dogs with maggot infestations, wounds, skin problems, minor injuries, eye and ear infections.

Being an animal rights activist from Mumbai, which is the cruelest incident you have witnessed?

There have been two that immediately come to my mind.
Some cruel person had tied a wire around the penis of the stray dog in Wadala. The whole area had become gangrenous; the dog could not pass urine and was in great pain. He was operated upon at WSD and luckily for him, he also got adopted into a good home. You can imagine how mild and trusting the stray dog must have been to allow a person to do that.

The second was an incident where someone threw acid on a dog at Zaveri Bazaar. This fat brown dog never got into anyone’s way. We treated him on-site for over two months and if you see him today you will still be able to see the acid burn scar on his body.

And the kindest?

Oh, there are so many. Just look around when you walk on the streets of Mumbai and you will see the chaiwala, boot-polishwala, the watchman, the policeman, the street dweller and the slum dweller giving strays all the love, affection and whatever little food they have. Stray dogs are mostly pets of the poor. You will see them snuggle against each other when they sleep at night on the footpath.

An interesting story is that of Arvind, the lame bootpolishwala (shoeshine man) who has kept many stray dogs as pets in his life. He lives on the footpath outside Eros theatre and he used to name his dogs after movies that were released at Eros. So he had a Pretty (Pretty Woman), James (James Bond), Tipu (Tipu Sultan), Hritik and Amisha (Kaho Na Pyar Hai). Arvind loves all his dogs dearly (only James and Tipu are left) and calls WSD whenever any of them is ill or wounded.

When there are so many strays to be adopted, how do you feel when you see people buying pedigree pooches?

I think that we need to try and convince people who want to keep pets to Adopt a dog and that too a pariah (the local Indian breed), rather than going and buying a pedigree or fancy breed. Our local dogs are as good looking, as loyal, as friendly and in fact less susceptible to diseases. I think that there are more people than before who have started adopting abandoned dogs or strays from WSD. WSD has also started the WSD Indian Pariah Dog Club, with an objective or promoting the adoption of the stray dog. This club already has more than 110 members

How do you see the problem of the stray dog population in Mumbai getting solved? How can I help?

Just walk around South Mumbai or areas that have achieved more than 80% percent sterilization and you will know. This can be replicated in the suburbs, if the BMC allots more spaces to start sterilization centers. This would result in bringing down the stray dog population and the problems (fighting, biting, barking associated with strays.) (Look up the Stray dog issue section on

How can you help: If you are a dog lover, instead of just feeding stray dogs in your locality, take up the responsibility of sterilizing and immunizing them against rabies every year. NGO’s like WSD do not charge for sterilization or immunization. If you are not a dog lover but a concerned citizen, you should write to the BMC to get all the dogs in your area sterilized or request an NGO nearest to you to pick up the dogs for sterilization.

During the rains, I often spot dogs with huge wounds running across the road. How can I help them?

The wounds that you see are maggot wounds and can be cured. We treat hundreds of dogs every month with such wounds. You can either do it yourself (after being trained) by attending WSD’s S.O.S. workshop’s (held twice a year) and volunteering with WSD’s on-site first aid programme.

Else you can call an animal welfare NGO like WSD. WSD reaches out to such dogs from Cuffe Parade to Juhu and Sion or co-ordinates with other NGO’s for areas beyond. You can call on our help line: 23733433/23891070

If I witness an act of cruelty what should I do? Should I call somebody up?

It depends on the nature of cruelty inflicted. Some cases can be solved with your own intervention. Some might need the intervention of an animal welfare organization or the local SPCA, which has police powers.

I am free on week ends, can I volunteer to help with WSD Activities?

Yes, of course you can volunteer. WSD has around 150 volunteers who are students, working people or homemakers and WSD depends on these volunteers to help out in different WSD activities. If you wish to volunteer, you need to meet us and fill a volunteer form which details the activities that you can volunteer for (you can choose the one you would be comfortable doing), including walking the dogs at the kennels, giving a presentation in a slum, administering first aid or fund-raising. You can call us on 23733433 or e-mail:

I wish to donate some money to WSD, can I?

Though WSD does not charge any money for any of its services, WSD needs to raise more than Rs one and half lakh every month for the costs that it incurs on the sterilization, immunization, on-site first aid and other activities for stray dogs. WSD is always grateful for donations received. Donations are exempt from tax under Section 80-G of the Income Tax Act (1961).
People can also make in-kind donations like rice, dal, Dalia, milk powder, medicines, newspapers and other items that are required at the WSD kennels. For more details or if you want to come and visit our sterilization center at Mahalakshmi, Saat Raasta, do call 23733433 or e-mail

What is your message to the readers of this blog?

Like all problems, the stray dog issue too needs to be dealt with rational solutions and measurables in mind. Thus the sterilization programme needs to get adequate infrastructural and monetary support from the government, which is lacking till date. The mass sterilization programme will work better with government inputs (BMC does not give a single paisa to the NGO’s for sterilization) than the practice of killing stray dogs (BMC had a big budget) over a hundred years which was totally ineffective as the objectives of bringing down human rabies deaths or the stray dog population were never achieved. Do look up the FAQs, as a lot of your questions on the Stray Dog issue will get answered.


See pets for adoption here.

Eloquent enough..


A couple of days after the Bomb-blasts, I spotted these kids outside Infinity Mall, very politely asking everyone who entered to give a donation to help the casualties. They very readily posed for the picture.

Its Play Time

For those who know me well are aware that I am a complete entertainment buff. I am always game for watching even the crappiest lot of Bollywood/Hollywood movies and will sit thru even the dullest of stage shows.

But what really gets my fancy are Stage Plays. An important factor responsible for my theatre fascination is the fact that I live just two blocks from Prithvi Theatre in other words the Mecca for stage artists and enthusiasts.

Prithvi Theatre has been responsible for showcasing the best plays by theatre groups from all over India and is affiliated with well-known personalities of the Theatre world. Actors/writers like Kay Kay Menon, Makrand Deshpande, Imtiaz Ali, etc. consider the experience gained as a theatre artist and the time spent at Prithvi to be the main reason for their success today.

In the recent times, thanks to involvement from the corporate world loads of theatre groups have been able to get over the financial hurdle to some extent but on the other hand some have had to compromise on their aesthetics qualities in other to fit in their sponsor’s interests.

And then there are some theatre groups who exist only for the sake of Art, who are not willing to sacrifice their basic aim even if it means letting go off big bucks and commercial success however they do end up winning our hearts and admiration. From the current set of known theatre groups, Aranya seems to fall under the above category.


Only in India …and (Only in India…)

Only in India you will see these sorts of affinity and unanimity. Irrespective of the ethnic or spiritual proclivities, we can see the whole nation stands together when there is a serious cause.

Two weeks before, the Blasts in Mumbai had affirmed this fact to a glorious extent. The undivided efforts and deportment of the whole inhabitants of Mumbai had zoomed out the awful impact of terrorism. The whole India prayed together.

In the last two days, yet again the whole nation stood awake in prayers and caring for the life of a cute boy namely, Prince. The poor lad of six years had fallen into a 50-feet pit and had remained trapped there for nearly 50 hours.


The whole country gone mad, once the news blown out. For two days they forgot themselves and kept praying for the sudden emergence of the unfortunate boy. They stumbled wherever they came across a shrine, without looking at the visage or name of the God they are praying to, but just praying from the heart of their hearts for the well sake of the boy.

I must tell this in Mumbai Blog because Mumbai was in the bead of tears, almost for the whole two days. And my words take utmost confidence from my personal experience itself. In my home also, my aunty was praying throughout.

In front of the temples I have seen all sorts of people praying wholeheartedly. What a great sight of unity! Even if where lies Kurukshetra and where Mumbai?

And he got saved! Princely.

Mosquito-free Well!!

Wonders of wonder!! We Mumbai people can’t manage to keep mosquitos out of our clean homes and it seems the R.C.C has managed to keep them out of a breeding ground like a well. And then they have proudly displayed their work to all.


This is the actual well, behind the sign board.


Coaxing Hoaxing


Madness unlimited. This is a simple explanation of what has been happening in Mumbai for last two weeks after the bloody bomb blasts.

Hoax calling.

Life is such a funny phenomenon that when you feel so much for some one, he/she will kick your ass. I love all the Mumbaikaars, as I told you in ‘Spit Mania’ but when things like this happen, I feel ashamed of myself. And here I don’t have enough words to swathe my nudity.

How many prank calls? ‘Bomb in Andheri’, ‘Blast in Vile Parle’ ‘Bomb in Churtchgate’… and how many more?… In between these, the Police and the security mobs will go helter-skelter, benumbed emotionally and officially.

But what makes people do these? Just to create panic? Or any other motives? Whatever, this is highly insensitive and aimed to create tensions between communities. And the saddest thing is that, there are no great measures to take strict actions against these pranksters.


Now come to the second side of the story. Coaxing applies to some of our clueless politicians… They do not hoax. They just coax. Via their honey-wrapped comments, they create plenty of tensions. Blindly they might tell you, who is behind the blasts and what are their plans and where are they going to fart the bombs tomorrow. They would even
demonstrate their comments through explicit proofs so that those poor allies would fall as foolish victims and create tensions in the communities. A hoaxer does the same.

The most disappointing thing is that there is no code of conduct for these foul-mouthed political apes.


Bloggers, it should be obvious, care a lot about freedom of speech. We are drawn to the medium for a variety of reasons, but none more important than the fact that it puts the tools of publishing in our hands, that we can express ourselves as we wish without the filter of an editor or an organisation or a censor. You can imagine the horror of bloggers in India when, over the last weekend, we discovered that all blogs hosted on Blogspot and Typepad were inaccessible, as well as all Geocities sites.

What had gone wrong? Well, the Indian government had apparently given a list of sites to internet service providers (ISPs) in India to ban. Some of these were Blogspot blogs. The ISPs went and banned the entire Blogspot domain.

Naturally, there was a hue and cry about this. Bloggers came together and set up a wiki and a public-access email group. Many Indian bloggers are journalists, and they got to work on getting the mainstream media to work on the matter. Some are lawyers, and they got down to preparing a public interest litigation. Others filed Right to Information applications. The technology experts among us publicised ways to get around the ban. And many, many bloggers voiced their protest.

Well, I’m glad to inform you that we won. The government got rattled by the negative publicity, and ordered the ISPs to block only those sites on their list, and not entire domains. Slowly, the ISPs have started restoring access to the blocked domains. All seems well for now.

There were two issues in all this. One, the technological ineptitude on the part of the ISPs. Two, the censorship involved, for even the handful of sites on the government list should not have been blocked. And had the government felt a strong need for those sites to have been blocked, it should have been transparent in the matter, and stated their reasons clearly.

The first battle seems to have been won. (I could be wrong, of course, but I hope not.) The second remains a longer-term fight, and one that many bloggers will continue.

And no, this was not a post about Mumbai, or at least about Mumbai alone. But there is one tenuous connection I can find: Mumbai is a city that I’ve always thought gives people the freedom to be themselves, a metropolis in the true sense of the term. And blogs give us the same freedom. The bloggers on Mumbai Metblogs care about that freedom, thus, doubly. And we will not give up this fight.

Scaramento 49 it is !!

Metblogs turns 49 today. Not in years, but in terms of member cities. State Capital of California, it is the 4th metblogs city from that state. I sense some conspiracy in that, but that’s for another post.

In the meantime, stop by and say a hi AAHNOLDDDD style at

Terrorism casts its shadow on the Internet

I dont know how many of you are facing this problem, but my blogspot has been conked from the past two or three days. I first thought that my MTNL Broadband was acting up, hence i tried connecting thru my dial-up connection. Even that does not work. Blogger connects but viewing blogspot blogs is not possible. This means that one can post but not view the posts. Ultimately I put up a post saying that I was safe and sound but could not connect to blogspot directly hence could not post.

Investigating further, I realized that cable net connectors allow logging on to blogspot, while MTNL, Dial-up MTNL, VSNL, etc. dont, being government providers.

So now the government has blocked some blogspot blogs and a few other sites, to not spread extremism, terrorist activities and such. I dont understand howcome all blogspot address are not viewable, with most MTNL owners. Some MTNL Broadband and dial-up owners can connect, but most cant.

Agreed Mumbai and India too is trying to fight terrorism, but of what use is this. Blogs are supposedly more difficult to trace than emails, hence the govt. took such steps. But if they leave loopholes like letting blogger survive and making viewing dead then what purpose does blocking the blogs serve??

If terrorists want to communicate with the other terrorists outside India, they just need to assure that ether they have non-government internet connection else, they can post from India while terrorists or anyone outside can view them.

If they need to block blogs they need to come up with a better tool for doing so.

Or maybe they have blocked me off from these blogs because I’m a suspect??

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