My earliest memory of the death of a “famous person” goes back to 1977. We were in school and suddenly in the middle of the day’s lessons were told that we could go home. The President of India had died of a heart attack and it had been declared a holiday. Dr Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was the incumbent President, and to date is only one of two Indian Presidents to have died in office. This was when I first got to know that when an important person in the country dies, a holiday is given, especially to school children, as a mark of respect to the person. (These days, it is also to keep the children safe from possible violence.) For students like us, the thrill of an unexpected holiday would cloud the solemnity of the grave event.
Month: July 2015
A road job well done
Incessant rains in Mumbai since last night. Even the birds are drenched!
In a city where rainfall, even when it is not heavy, is synonomous with flooding, the state of the roads in the Lokhandwala Circle area (Akurli Road) this year has been a pleasant surprise.
The dilemma of roadside vending
Location: Lokhandwala Circle, Kandivali East, Mumbai
Two policemen, seated in a police van (Bolero), with beacon, et al, on patrol. The van is conspicious as it crawls up the road, stopping every few metres, and disrupting the traffic while doing so. I see it during one such stop, with a vegetable vendor at its window, handing notes to the policeman seated next to the driver. Everyone around seems to be looking away, but both the policeman and the vendor see that I have seen. It is the vendor who looks uncomfortable, while the policeman looks through me as if I do not exist, and the vulture van moves forward to its next prey.
“Is that money that you gave to the policeman?” I ask the vendor.
His vegetable shop, well equipped for the monsoons with a blue tarpaulin sheet, is set up with a large table right in the place where the footpath should be. People who are walking are forced onto the road while negotiating the corner he occupies. He is not alone. There are others in this corner, where a new footpath is yet to be laid after recent road concreting.
The neighbourhood Elephanta Trimurti
A trip to the Elephanta Caves, off the Mumbai coast is generally a day’s outing, especially for those living in the northern parts of Mumbai, such as Kandivali. (Visitors to Mumbai would squeeze it in along with other sight-seeing.) So why not have the Trimurti, the symbol of Elephanta, literally right at your doorstep.
Winning from the brink of defeat
I woke up this morning, to the delightful news of the Sania-Martina victory at Wimbeldon. It was a hard fought win (5-7, 7-6, 7-5), with their opponents having been a game away from the championship on three serves.
As much as I wanted to, I wasn’t able to stay up to watch the much awaited Women’s Doubles final last night, but reading about it and watching bits and pieces of the highlights took me back to another match over 36 years ago.
Social media trolls and non-winners
Some days ago, the German broadcaster Deutsch Welle (DW) ran a “taxi” contest, announced on its TV channel and Facebook page. All you had to do was to take a picture of a taxi in your city and send it to them by email. One lucky participant would win a mini iPad. The winner of the raffle was from India and her picture, of a three-wheeler autorickshaw, was uploaded on the DW Facebook page. Immediately, the non-winners (we can’t call them losers, for there could be losers only in matches and races) found technical problems with the winning entry. For them taxi=car. While the winner was thrilled with her luck, there were others who were clear that her interpretation of ‘taxi’ should have pushed her out of the reckoning, advising the organisers to quickly choose another winner. Of course some were sporting enough to congratulate her, while lamenting about their own poor luck. Continue reading
Pretty as a picture
CapsToKeep, the bottle cap-driven reuse initiative, began as a hobby more than two years ago. Cap fridge magnets has been the main focus, but the diverse possibilities of the things that can go into the caps continues to make it a fun pastime. Of course, take away the magnet and the cap could well become a keychain or a bracelet or a part of a dangler.
Recently, a young lady who found us on Facebook placed an order for a photo dangler, for a special family. The only demand was that “it should be best!”. She mailed us the photos that we resized before printing, to fit in the caps. Everything else used to complete the product could well have been picked from a trash can… material from a tailor shop, formica board from an aluminium-frame door fabricator (the board goes inside the fabric sleeve to provide stiffness), chord that was unnecessary in the waist of a pair of shorts, used refil of a gel pen (yes, that’s the rod) and two beads left over from a craft assignment. A few rows of stitching, sawing the board to size, a bit of gluing, and hey… here is the result. When she picked it up today, “It is best! So pretty! They will be so happy.”, she said.
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