Saturday, Dec 10, 2022

Mumbai Musings

Mumbai Musings

Salman Khan has supplied more than 2000 tankers to drought affected Marathwada and has agreed to provide water from May 6 to May 31

Samaritan Salman

Apart from his infamous past of violence and rash behaviour, Dabanng Salman Khan is also popular for his magnanimous heart. After starting his NGO Being Human (which is also a clothing label/brand now), his philanthropy has only gotten more organised. He has supplied more than 2000 tankers to drought affected Marathwada and has agreed to provide water from May 6 to May 31. Although Chief Minister’s relief fund has collected more than 100 crores, we are awaiting announcements of relief projects. And water storage continues to deplete, now around 7% in the region. Considering political parties send tankers around the time of their public meetings, Salman’s good deed does look like a genuine gesture— especially since we are not expecting any film release either. Take note, be human, save water. 

More Price Hikes?

Mumbai remains one of the last cities in the state (and in country?) to abolish Octroi and switch to Local Body Tax. The traders have shut their shops for the past five days, causing (deliberate?) shortage of supply and increase in prices. Although government has clarified it won’t be affecting small retailers and those supplying essentials, everyone seems to have joined the party and the protest. However, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has stood his ground and the municipal corporation, which will levy the tax, has issued several public notices to explain. And the courts too have held up the decision. The tax will be levied from October 1. Although the traders have called off the strike for now, they have said they would continue the protest. More price hikes around the corner?

Tiger Spotting

Summer is the best time for tiger spotting, because all animals are seen near watering holes. Add increased tiger numbers in Tadoba Tiger Sanctuary and summer vacation. The result is a much higher number of tourists at the sanctuary near Chandrapur (which incidentally also recorded a temperature of 47 degrees!). However, environmentalists and animal rights activists have complained that the tourist flow (egged by aggressive and insensitive guides) is disturbing the animals. Speeding jeeps and constant exchange of location details on mobile phones and crowds staking out near ponds just irk the tigers that have braved poaching and neglect for years and showing signs of recovery only now.

Kon Bannar Karodpati? 

Marathi KBC— Our desi Hindi entertainment depends on western programmes and game shows for inspiration, be it KBC, Fear Factor, Bigg Boss or Masterchef. And if Hindi depends on vilaayat, Marathi takes after big bro Hindi. After aping saas bahu serials, now Marathi will have its own version of KBC, Kaun Banega Crorepati hosted by noted actor Sachin Khedekar (remember Astitva or Sardar?). The show started earlier this week and we are undecided if it will have the same magic as the one hosted by Big B. Strangely, Khedekar has been doing a lot of hard core Marathi Manoos oriented films such as Me Shivaji Raje Boltoy and the latest offering is Kokanastha. I doubt if that image appeals to the aspiring Marathis looking forward to make crores? 

'Naxal Sympathisers'

Four members of Kabir Kala Manch, a cultural group from Pune advocating Dalit rights, courted arrest (terming it Satyagraha) near Mantralay. Two of them were arrested after a few hours and were booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. They have been charged with allegedly sympathising with Naxals and helping them. A month ago two more members also courted arrest and are currently in judicial custody. The group is known for its songs and plays that speak of inequality, injustice and breach of human rights. 

Not An Alternative? 

The Bombay High Court has stayed its previous order of allowing homeopaths to practice allopathy. However, it has clarified that the government can change the regulation that prevents them from allowing the alternative medicine doctors to prescribe allopathic drugs. This has been discussed and debated because of scarcity of doctors. When Mumbai reported cases of extremely drug resistant tuberculosis more than a year ago, one of the identified reasons was rampant consumption of antibiotics— sometimes a case of self-medication and often a result of careless prescriptions by ill-informed doctors. While medical council is decided on not allowing homeopathic doctors to practice allopathy, the catch is, however, the government needs these doctors to be part of the TB programme. There is a severe crunch of general physicians, especially, in poor pockets of the city and rural areas of the state where these doctors are a godsend.

Chak De

When it is about Cricket and Bollywood, politics can be set aside. Even as the Mumbai Cricket Association decided to keep Shah Rukh Khan out of Wankhede Stadium (because of a five-year ban after his altercation with security person last year) both Raj Thackeray and Congress spokesperson came out in his support. However, MCA didn’t budge. Shah Rukh, on his part, maintained peace by not attending the match between KKR and Mumbai Indians on Tuesday. Not to mention that KKR lost miserably. To draw from his evergreen Chak De we know who the gunda is of this team called Cricket!

The Show Must Go On

Three years after explosion at the upmarket iconic eatery, German Bakery, in Pune’s Koregaon Park that killed 17 and injured many, the bakery reopened on Saturday. Although the management has been handed over from Kharose family to a new proprietor on a 25-year lease and the bakery dons a new look, people are expected to throng soon. It has taken three years but a sessions court has already convicted and sentenced one accused, Himayat Baig, to death penalty. It perhaps is one of the speediest of trials we have had and this reopening of the bakery only proves that the show must go on.