Archive for the ‘Only in Mumbai’ Category

Helmet Farce

This is a classic snap of obeying the “letter of the law” but failing the “spirit of the law”

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Taken at a traffic light, the rider of the motorcycle is wearing a helmet, while the passengers are not. Their lives are not as important as the riders, even though they are one big happy family.

The Dabba Roster

I remain a Mumbai train loyalist. Not only is the Mumbai Metropolitan Railway, the fastest way to get from Point A to Point B in Mumbai, it also gives you a slice of what I think of as ‘the real Mumbai life’. Frantic students cramming in seat-huddles tell you that the board examinations are around the corner. A bling-ey group chatters away about the wedding they’re off to in the matrimony season. Office-goers – peons, sales executives, doctors, journalists run shoulders (okay, bodies) in the nau-dabbon-ki-jalad-lowkulll.

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And speaking of dabbas, how about the other dabbas? The ones carrying piping hot nourishment, lovingly made by mothers and wives and cooks across the city and delivered Just In Time for lunch to their hungry patrons? To the uninitiated, the dabbawallas are a network of deliverymen who carry lunchboxes from homes to offices and back using a never-fail above-world-class system of colour coding. An Ivy League US b-school used them as a case study and the concept has picked up much visibility since then.
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Bharat Ratna: Are You Kidding Me ?

Yesterday I read this article on DNA India and it nearly made me fall off my chair laughing. This is the gist…

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said on Monday he would reject Bharat Ratna even if the award was ever offered to him.

My first reaction was….WTF !! Who in their sanest minds would even dream of giving the nation’s highest civilian awards to a politician who spent all his life promoting grassroots regionalism and created a political monster otherwise called the Shiv Sena.

Let’s take a stock check. Thackeray gave rise to Shiv Sena which has over the years become a quasi-militant right wing regionalistic party that tries to keep the interests of the “Marathi Manoos” or “sons of the soil” at heart. Idealistic lofty goals. However in a city like Bombay, its completely misplaced. Bal Thackeray has to his credit….

  • The riots of 1992 and 1993.
  • Further corruption of the government when in power
  • Cultural “nazi-ism” that would push Bombay back three centuries.
  • A band of thugs as his followers who believe in arson, crime and killing as the only way to get heard.

Frankly, I think he and the Shiv Sena are the worst thing that has happened to the “Marathi Manoos”.

I think Thackeray himself realized how stupid he would sound, because in the same article he goes

Of course, this is bound to generate questions as to who is going to give me. But nevertheless I am clear that I will never accept it”.

It is obvious that this is a publicity stunt and an attempt to get some press coverage for the Toothless Tiger. he has been out of the news for a while now and along with his surprising statement supporting Pawar, he is slowly coming back into the limelite with the political season coming on.

Thackeray, don’t worry. No one ever thought of giving you one. And I will personally deport anyone who has such naughty bad thoughts !

Mumbai Marathon this weekend

Mumbaikars are always in a hurry and are constantly running for something. Weather it is catch the 8.40am local or the BEST, to reach the office on time, to catch a rick, or simply just to escape the peak hour traffic jam and reach home early. This weekend the city will run but this time it will be for a cause. With all the daily running, Marathon seems like a cakewalk. It’s the Marathon Weekend.

Yes around 30,000 runners, including 40 of the world’s 100 top athletes, will be participating in the fifth Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, on Sunday. Thousands of Mumbai residents will line the over 20-km-long route from CST to Bandra Reclamation to see these super shuttles run.

The stars of the tinsel town, the biggies of the business world and also the highly sophisticated, prim and proper socialites will also be sighted running a pace or two. And I suppose that will be just enough for the media coverage. But can’t deny the fact that their brief presence will surely motivate the other runners.

Last year, the marathon raised almost Rs80 million for various charities involving 150 NGOs. This year, the organizers hope to raise almost Rs100 million. The Mumbai Marathon, which is the richest marathon in Asia and also features among the top ten marathons in the world, has emerged as the single largest charity event in India.
This year, the prize money has been raised by $10,000 to $240,000.

The Mumbai marathon includes five categories: the full marathon (42.195 km), the half marathon (21.097 km), the dream run (six-km), the senior citizens run (4.3-km), and the wheelchair event (2.5-km).
Did you know that our city has some professional marathon runners? Well I never had a clue so until I came across this website; click here to read his blog. I also read somewhere that there are some very senior citizen runners (90+ yrs old) too. The city never ceases to amaze me and this is one of the reason I love this city.

The dream runners will include celebrities like John Abraham, Vivek Oberoi, Rahul Bose and Suchitra Krishnamurthy (all Bollywood actors) and Revathy Menon, Madhavan, Khushboo and Rohini (from the celluloid world of the south).

So Are you ready to run ?

PS: Don’t forget your running your shoes :D

Mandhani

This is one common piece of storage you are likely to find in almost every working class home in Mumbai. In Marathi it is called Mandhani (Correct me if I am wrong). Be it a Maharashtrian home, Gujarati home or a Marwari home you will find this shelf in every kitchen. It is made up of thin sheets of steel and is hung on nails which are drilled into the wall. These shelves are used to store/display steel and aluminum utensils, sort of a kitchens central focus During Diwali the entire shelf is removed washed, and the utensils are scrubbed to shine and displayed on these shelves. Sadly with the fad of modular kitchens, many homes are now disowning this piece of furniture.

Mumbai and its Immigrants

Over the centuries, human population is in flux and people move from the hinterland to urban megapolii. Nowhere in India is it more prominent than in Bombay. As much as the Shiv Sena would like to claim that Bombay is all about the “Marathi Manoos”…knowing the Shiv Sena, I would say it is “despite” the MM.

There is no larger melting pot than Mumbai and Biharis rub shoulders on the local trains with Gujjubhais. South Indians (or as we love to call them all….Madrasis)jostle with Punjabis for the same square inch of pavement, to walk, to work and what not.

Migrants over centuries built this city, and that is the crux of this nice article by Bachi Karkaria in the TOI.

More than any other metropolis, Mumbai is native-neutral, whatever the Shiv Sena may like to project. Migration is a continuous-process industry here, and the city would be non-existent without migrants. This is exactly the opposite of the pattern in Chennai and Kolkata, places firmly rooted in their mono-chauvinism.

……Yet, contrary to Jug Suraiya’s premise, this does not make for a disparate anonymity where you can get away with murder or molestation. Quite the opposite. You learn to adapt, and live in the togetherness of strangers. In fact, communal angularities have full rein in the company of your own kind. Outside it, it is imperative that you emery them down. This is why the Goan makes good outside Goa;, the Bengali does better outside the stifling cultural terrorism of Kolkata; the Punjabi is so much quieter outside Delhi. As a Parsi, I could have claimed Mumbai as my patrimony, but I was a migrant too from the communal outpost of Kolkata, and the first thing that struck me was that the resident of the baugs and colonies was almost a different species from the Parsis back home.

Continue reading the entire article here.

A survival guide to Mumbai trains

This post actually started out as a draft for the ‘7 series’ on Mumbai Metroblogging. It didn’t make the deadline then. Considering that Mumbai trains are in the news again, I think it is worth an airing anyway.

I’m relying on the fact that most of us in this city, live on little oases or islands of our own madness and know very little about the rest of the place. And for outsiders, the beehive is positively mind-boggling anyway. So here’s a special edition of how-to-survive Mumbai by a thoroughbred Mumbaiker.

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I always think of the railway network as the central nervous system of this city. It is fairly impossible to get lost in this city. The minute you find yourself out of sorts, you just make your way to the nearest railway station and voila! You’re back on the Mumbai lifeline.
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Spirit Of Mumbai

Tell me what is it that you would like to read on your newspaper front page? or What news would you prefer to give a full page coverage? Sports, Cricket, Politics or cricket politics, Bachchans vs King Khan, Gossips, Bollywood news? These are some of the topics which is given unnecessary priority by the news media to acquire more readership. Today the news media is also on a bandwagon to give unnecessary importance to gossip news. In Malayalam such news papers are termed in the category called ‘Manyapatram’ (don’t bother to try pronouncing that), Its literal translation ‘Yellow Newspaper’.

But once in a while such news comes like a fresh of breath air. People such as Syed Nazima Amir Ahmed deserves more media coverage than the stupid Bachchans private life and their rivalry with Khan because these are the peopl, who try to pump blood to keep this city alive in their own little ways. After reading this article I am sure we won’t have Mumbaikars coming out with brooms and start cleaning public areas but at least such stories will be exaples for individuals to help heep their city clean, who won’t litter public areas. Hygiene is a matter of concern in Mumbai and the least we can doas individuals is try to keep the city clean; use dustbins, do not spit, do not litter, do not dispose garbage at open public areas. A little conscious effort can definitely bring in drastic changes. As the Hindi saying goes “Boondh boondh se banthi hai sagar”. Have a clean weekend folks.
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Battle of the Spaces

In Mumbai land is dearer than gold. Actually now a days it is land, stocks and then gold. One city which has to battle its way to accomodate zillions and still manage to find open spaces is facing a serious delima.
With the Mumbai municipal corporation’s amendment to its policy on development of open spaces kills the last remaining open spaces of land, which could give this city the breathing space it badly needs.

BMC’s new policy gives away all open spaces larger than 15,000 square metres for construction of clubs, gymnasiums and other facilities on a quarter of the plot area.

These are facilities, which will be exclusive to members, though the open area will be available to the public.

This puts about 82 plots of land for sale in the city from the 608 open pieces of land.

According to the earlier BMC policy, maidans had to be first offered for adoption so resident associations, NGOs, corporates could take them over for maintenance.

No construction except a gardener’s chowkie was to be allowed. If there were no takers, the plot could be given on a ‘care taker’ basis for construction of clubs on 25 per cent of the land.

But the abolition of this scheme has activists fuming. The BMC administration is, however, defensive saying that adoption is not lucrative and plots get encroached if not developed.

The BMC is failing in its statutory duty as civic body because BMC is actually meant to be the caretaker of the city.

Mumbai Bloggy Brunch

Agreed, this is on a short notice but believe me life is not all about blogging and fun. So yeah, it’s actually a favor that Melody and I are doing for you folks. Now stop gawking, you know it’s the truth.

Okay…Okay, on a more serious note this time round we have decided to go with the Brunch Theme (yes, so very innovative) – slightly on the higher side entry fee wise but hey, nothing’s really cheap re these days.

The invite basically says it all – yup, will be super cool if you could make it. And please confirm with us if you are seriously going to make, it makes life a hell lot easier.

Ps…would be super duper cool if you could let others know about it via your own blog/s. Thanks and looking forward to meeting the bloggy bunch soon.

Previous blog meet gupshups can be found here.

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