Monday, November 19, 2012


MOVEMENT ON THE GROUND: Students break for lunch at a Byculla school

Recently, mediapersons covering proceedings at the Bombay high court rushed to catch details of a certain case —Vijay Mallya versus Ranjana Todkar—that was to come up for hearing. They entered the courtroom much before time and waited, all the while conjecturing what could be involved. As soon as the hearing began, from the word go, the journalists began jotting all that was being said across the bar by advocates of both sides, although it seemed a bit incomprehensible to them. The case was adjourned after five minutes of arguments. The journalists quickly moved out of the courtroom and waited for the advocates to brief them about the details. It was then that the amused advocate for respondent Todkar said, “This is not the Vijay Mallya you are looking for. It is someone else, not the liquor baron.” It turned out, he was one Pune-based businessman and the case was over a property dispute. 

Bedtime Facts
At the sidelights of a medical conference, this correspondent met a doctor who was on a different mission. Pediatric surgeon Dr Vivek Rege, as part of his personal crusade, operates the city’s only bedwetting clinic. He took pains to explain why a habit that is often frowned upon as a child’s lazi
ness to run to the loo in the middle of the night, should be considered a medical problem. Children don’t wet the bed on a whim but because they are not eating right, he said. In fact, he pinned down wrong nutritional habits among the burger-chomping and cola-guzzling Gen X as one of the prime reasons. A simple change in diet is all that is required, he advised. Parents usually come to him for some other problem with their child and they mention bedwetting only as a tag-along problem. And when nutrition is mentioned as cure, parents are even more shocked. You are what you eat. Point.

Drama at Bhoiwada
Last Tuesday, the Bhoiwada police station was chaotic, to say the least. Around 8pm, the officers were trying to juggle three cases — a serious accident, a violent family dispute and a Malayalee family that had come to collect an NOC to carry a body outside Maharashtra. This was when a smartly turned-out woman in her late forties—“wearing four diamond rings on each hand”—entered the police station with a slight young woman in her twenties who was dressed in tattered clothes. The officers were in for a shock when the young woman accused the well-heeled Five Gardens resident of following her all the way from Four Bungalows at Andheri to Dadar railway station only to pocket her Rs 20,000 cellphone. “I tried to dump my phone in my bag,” the young woman told the dumbstruck cops, pointing at her shabby jhola, “but, instead, she ensured that it fell inside her bag.” By now, the older woman had taken to screaming, insulting and threatening not just the complainant but even the cops by underlining her “contacts” with a famous industrialist and Maharashtra’s chief minister himself. This drama went on for an hour and a half, by which time, the fatigued cops had had enough. One of them cajoled and escorted “the accused” to a cab, handed over Rs 30 to the cabbie and asked him to drop her to her residence. The
young woman was simply shouted at and asked to pack herself off.

Decent Proposal
When they tell their grandchildren about it, some parts of this story might be left out. Like the fact that it happened in the middle of happy hours or that it involved a paneer dish. On the day of Diwali, at a popular Thane restaurant, a young man dressed in a kurta decided to abandon his lunch plate and stand up. He then raised both his hands, like a football referee, and pleaded for attention. “Excuse me. I have an announcement to make,” he said. He then pointed to the salwar-kameez-clad girl sitting across the table and declared that he was going to propose to her and that he could do with some support. 

    The applause from the tables around was immediate. He went down on one knee and screamed her name. “Will you marry me?” The girl, who looked a tad embarrassed by the attention, asked him politely to “sit down first”. But the pressure from the patrons around was building. “Answer. Answer,” they pestered, clapping. Even the waiters smiled as they served. It was a surreal moment, partly because it was happening in Thane.

    When she finally looked at the floor and nodded, the boy was ecstatic. “There is no cake on my table. But I am going to celebrate with this paneer starter,” he said, and fed her a spoonful. Perhaps they are called happy hours as some happy endings are scheduled during that time.

 (Contributed by Rosy Sequeira,  Malathy Iyer, Mateen Hafeez  and Sharmila Ganesan-Ram.
    Compiled by Rucha Biju Chitrodia)

The Times of India, November 19, 2012

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