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Mumbai at a glance: Water crisis, Assembly polls and non-veg food

Sunday, 29 June 2014 - 8:00am IST | Agency: dna

Water crisis is nearing, do your bit
With the rains playing truant, the city is headed for a water crisis. But what is upsetting is that neither BMC nor the citizens appear to be bothered. As much as 40% of water supplied from the lakes literally goes down the drain because the civic body does not have a concrete policy to plug the leakage. The Malabar Hill reservoir has been known to leak for the past several years. Also, many of the large pipes through which water is brought into the metropolis are rusty and leaking. But then who cares?

Citizens can certainly do their bit by following a few simple steps. For starters, don't wash your car. The dust can be removed with a dry cloth and, if the vehicle is particularly dirty, a wet rag can be used. At present, every morning, one can see in almost every housing society the servants pouring bucketfuls of water over the cars as if they are performing 'abhishek'. Can anything be more irresponsible? In fact, even when there is no shortage, water should not be used to clean cars, as is the case in most European countries.

Rainwater harvesting is now compulsory in new buildings. But why can't old buildings also go for it? Groundwater can be used for flushing at least. Instead of bathing under shower, water filled in a bucket can be used. Taps should not be kept open while shaving. If you are required to store water, don't empty the drums in the morning so that you can fill them with fresh water. There is nothing called 'fresh' water. All the water you receive is stored for several months in the lakes and then supplied to you. And like the Mira Road resident Aabid Surti, who was featured a few days ago, make sure your faucets are not leaking.

Assembly poll prep in full swing
Even though the assembly election is a few months away, city MLAs have started preparations in earnest. Take the case of Ghatkopar MLA Prakash Mehta. A five-time BJP legislator, he has brought out a thick-bound volume in colour containing the names of all those who will be manning the voting booths in his constituency. Their photographs and contact details have been given. Also, there is a list of party activists and sympathisers whose task will be to mobilise voters on the crucial day.

Mehta's level of preparation is so complete that he says, "I am willing to contest the polls if they are held tomorrow."

Incidentally, Prakashbhai, as he is popularly called by one and all in Ghatkopar, has something in common with prime minister Narendra Modi. He is also in the tea business. Several decades ago, his grandfather started a shop selling tea powder in Kurla and the family business continues till this day.

Ghatkopar is likely to witness an interesting fight, with Congress deciding to field its corporator Pravin Chheda against Mehta. Chheda was a close associate of Mehta's for 29 years, but he broke away from him when he realised that his political career has reached a cul de sac in BJP. He switched over to Congress and got elected to BMC. He has also started poll preparations and hired a PR agency.

Another prominent businessman of Ghatkopar, Raja Mirani, who had contested the last assembly poll, is unlikely to enter the fray this time.

Head here for good non-vegetarian fare
Shrawan is one month of the Hindu calender which those owning non-vegetarian restaurants dread because most patrons avoid non-vegetarian food during the holy month. Actually, it makes sense as this is the breeding time for fish and one should let them procreate rather than gobble them up. But smart foodies hog on non-veg fare well before Shrawan.

There are any number of joints across the city which serve some delectable stuff. You have Mahesh Lunch Home at Flora Fountain and Juhu, known for its crab masala, Apurva, which serves yummy prawns gassi with Manglorean roti, Fountain Plaza, also at Fountain, famous for its Karimeen Fried Rice and Squid Thoran, all the branches of Modern Lunch Home, where you get wholesome chicken, mutton and fish thalis, and Highway Gomantak at Bandra where superb sukke kolambi masale, mudadhushi fry mandeli and other Goan dishes are on offer. The Ratnagiri chain offers some down-to-earth dishes which can be washed down with sol kadhi and the prices are very reasonable. Vile Parle, of course, has its famous Gajalee.

There is no dearth of Punjabi non-veg fare. Lamba in Chembur and Hazara in Sion Koliwada are famous for their fried prawns Koliwada-style. Pritam, Great Punjab and Aroma in Dadar, Peninsula in Sion, Sachin in Dadar and Lower Parel, and the dozens of new joints which have mushroomed in Lokhandawala, Andheri, all sate the taste buds of non-vegetarians.

An elaborate spread
Noted finance consultant Raghu Palat has come out with a book on his community, the Nairs. What particularly caught our attention in the book was the description of the Onam feast. He says the food is to be served in a particular manner on banana leaves. There should be 64 dishes. "Pappadums are to be on the extreme left. On top of the pappadum, banana is served. The banana can be resakadali, poovan or palayankodan. From the right salt, banana wafers (upperi), sarkarapuratti fries (upperi coated with jaggery) are served. After this, ginger, lime and mango pickles are served. Next comes, vellarika, pavakka, beetroot and ullikitchadi. Kitchadi made of pineapple and banana splits or of grapes, and apple is also served. On the right, cabbage thoran is served. Then comes thoran made of beans and avil followed by green peas-mix thoran. The meal will be complete with the serving of avial and kootu curry. Other dishes served are erissery, kalan, pulisseri, olan, mulashoshyam and rasam."

"Of course, all this is topped with dessert consisting of adapradhaman and kadala payasam." Quite mouth-watering one must say.

Tailpiece: When local railway pass fares were sharply increased last week this joke went viral:
Aunty No. 1: I have identified a rich boy for your daughter.
Aunty No. 2: How rich is he?
Aunty No. 1: You know, he travels every day from Borivli to Churchgate in first class! Must be a rich man!

—(Compiled by S Balakrishnan)

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