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Durable Link to this BlogSaturday, July 03, 2010

Witty way of Mr. M.R. Pai of getting redressal

1) Wall Posters 2) Telephone twiddle

It is a common sight in Indian cities, big and small that well-painted compound walls are pasted with unwanted posters and ugly advertisements. Mr. M.R. Pai had to wage incessant efforts to train volunteers to keep Mumbai clean.

"The end result of enlightened public opinion, mobilized through voluntary action, is bound to be effective towards a cleaner city. The school children who cleaned up the walls of South Bombay a few weeks ago gave us the right slogan: "Wake up, lazy Bombayites, losers never win, winners never lose, let's keep Bombay clean" ".

A few days later, a group of boys went around Kalbadevi at night pasting up election posters of a candidate. Within a few hours, another group of boys followed the same route, putting up posters of a new movie. The next day, Bombay's citizen"s perpetual victims of poster war bombardments, were confronted by the "joint appeal" of two, partly-over pasted slogans which read:

"Give your vote to" "Alibaba & Forty Thieves"

The situation had its bit of accidental humour, but there is nothing really funny about the progressive defacement of the city"s landscape through posters and slogans painted on buildings and every possible public place.

Pai's numerous victories over the telephone department's poor service are legendary. In 1982, when he got a phone installed at home for the first time, it rang non-stop, with callers asking about train schedules. Clearly, some officials, piqued by Pai's helping subscribers in their complaints regarding matters such as over-billing, had deliberately given Pai a number that until recently was that of Bombay's Dadar railway station.

Pai hit back. He asked his son Shyamsunder, to politely inform callers that the station's number had changed and to give them several other numbers at which to make enquiries. Actually, these were the office and residence numbers of some senior Bombay Telephones officials. Within a couple of days Pai received an apology from the general manager and a new number.

Amma's Column by Jyotsna Kamat

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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