Even as I write this piece, rain is pelting outside with confused intensity. Lashing from one direction for a few minutes, choosing a breather, wondering for a bit, and then continuing from another direction. The monsoons have been generous to Mumbai so far, even if the बृहन्मुंबई महानगरपालिका (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) would have you believe otherwise. Still plying excuses for it’s rationing of water supply.
The monsoon clouds visited Mumbai this year courteously ahead of schedule. The initial few introductory drizzles were performed with the etiquette of a classical vocalist offering the first stanza as a figurative obeisance to the lords before unleashing the full range. After the first few weeks, where intermittent rain and sunny skies created a steamy ambience, the wheather has been pleasantly cooler since July. Thanks much to the overcast conditions. Since then, Mumbai has witnessed thunderstorms with heavy rains and thunderstorm warnings with neither thunder nor storms. This year Mumbai also experienced window pane rattling winds, ripping off asbestos sheet roofs and the tarpaulin covers on it to protect from leakages. With Ganesh Chaturthi in sight now, the the rains have dwindled in frequency, staying true to custom yet again.
I was involved in my regular monthly catch-up conversation with my cousin in Bengaluru when she mentioned that an acquaintance of her had recently moved to Mumbai after living in Bengaluru for many years and that he needed some help in finding accommodation. She had given him my contact information. She also proceeded to narrate this person’s excitement at experiencing Mumbai first hand and how surprised he had been in finding the auto drivers and shopkeepers being so courteous. Anybody who has any experience dealing with auto drivers in Mumbai and Bengaluru will vouch for the professionalism of the man in khaki from Mumbai. For the rest, I’ll attempt to elaborate.
Looking back at it, I’m surprised that most parents and teachers of my school going days allowed this game to permeate within the sub-culture of our generation. The essence of this game was to announce your status and avoid receiving a knuckle punch from the person or persons with whom you’re playing (waging, really) this game. There were no other spoils of the victory except the satisfaction of the punch. Losers were left moaning and groaning.
A delicacy among college kids not just for the bargain it is for a seemingly healthy dish but also for the extra dollops of the sacredly guarded tomato sauce (ketchup).
The cornerstone of this delight is bread slices whose edges have been cut precisely enough to shave off lumpy edges without any noticeable loss in it’s square area. This slice is then smeared with a paste of green chutney made out of corianders and chilly and some butter which is identifiable only by its creamy colour and slimy texture; never by the aroma or flavour.