The B.E.S.T. of Mumbai

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The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport or more commonly referred to as B.E.S.T. Buses, have for more than a century been an integral part of the Commercial city of Bombay.

As Bombay has expanded, re-invented itself as Mumbai, the BEST bus services have never been far away. With near about 5000 buses in its fleet, it strives hard to get Mumbai moving, act as a feeder to Mumbai Suburban Rails and provide an economical source to travel for Mumbaikars.

The history of this undertaking is no less charming. Starting off with trams on Mumbai’s then arterial roads, it received rave reviews, much better when it introduced Double Decker trams! In Bombay, nearly 80 years ago. Unfortunately, these came with an expiry date – eventually being replaced by regular motorized vehicles. But these did not stop the corporation from experimenting.The motion pictures industry has also jumped on this bandwagon, with many a memorable scene, commercial advertisements, backdrops all incorporating the B.E.S.T. Buses.The buses of Mumbai came in all shapes and sizes, with different credentials, a few even converting themselves into red restaurants on wheels, yellow trailer buses, blue open top tourist vehicles & grey tree trimming vehicles during monsoons.

Often with a restricted carrying capacity – ranging from 24 passengers to 84 passengers, these red jumbos, did not mind carrying nearly 2 times their peak capacity to get tired souls home after a laborious day of work. The drivers happily blaring their horns still create a road for themselves, the conductors happily punch away tickets for travelers (although now replaced by printed rolls!) with many of these routes operational 24 x 7.

Routes like 123 – the one that romanced the entire stretch of Marine Drive, would often get the newest rolling stocks – for the sheer novelty it provided. The front seats on the upper deck were some of the most fought for seats, till date in Mumbai; specially during monsoons. Then there are routes like 332 & 340 – operating on some of the most congested & via the most populous areas of Mumbai, buses visible every couple of minutes. A bus you never regretted missing but cursing at the same for not finding a seat on the next one. Yet more routes, 523, 84, 496, 180 all running across the length and breadth of the city made one wait for minutes on end for the next one, should one miss their regular connection.

Yet these gentle giants carry about 50 lakh riders, moving nearly about half the city of Mumbai, daily!

So empty would the city be without the best of the B.E.S.T of Mumbai.


A Cocktail of Sleepiness and Driving – the OSA Saga

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The numbers of vehicles have crossed over 5 Lakhs in many urban centers of India. This means that there is a lot of traffic on road at any given time. It also means that there are more drivers falling asleep on the wheels of their car – either due to exhaustion or a medical condition. One such condition could be OSA (Obsessive Sleep Apnea), a condition where a patient stops breathing for small periods of time!

DNA-Sleep Apnoea- Dr Amit Panjwani

Cases like these are not very uncommon among medical practitioners. This should make us all the more aware of the dangers that one puts himself into and also the risk that is posed to others. Snoring when sleeping, disturbed night of sleep, changing positions when sleeping, being forgetful, late are all indicators that one can be suffering from OSA.

OSA, can strike at any time. It happens because of an obstruction to the flow of air in the airways, especially in the upper part near the throat area. It can occur at any age, including children, albeit it is more common in middle aged obese or overweight men. Studies have shown the prevalence of it being around 10-12% of the population.

The risk of driving with OSA increases the possibility of a car crash by as many as 12 times. To avoid such instances from happening, it is suggested that one visit their doctors.  With improved medication & treatment techniques, this can easily be treated by qualified practitioners. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is one of the most effective treatment options for OSA, which involves a mask when the patient sleeps. Early diagnosis prevents any long term complications, reducing chances of fatality.

Proper treatment not only improves driver performance, but also makes a person alert & active. This is for the good!

The simple joy of food!

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I heard it once again on FM– the show ‘kya baat kar rahe ho?’ a girl had to wait for 12 years to open her mouth.
No doubt, that this had been a pretty rare case, but to hear it again and again through different mediums, just tells us what we as humans are capable of achieving.
The girl is 14 now. She is more than happy as she can eat (read: chew) whatever she likes. Ness, a Nigerian had flown down to Mumbai with a disorder called Mandibular Joint dysfunction.
It was an accident that led to such complication. When Ness was 2 yrs old she had fallen and got a jerk in her jaw which was not visible or painful at that time. But slowly with her age, her mouth opening became smaller and one fine day Ness stopped eating solid food.
This created a lot of worries in her family, seeing that a child could not even consume basic solid food. It made them run here and there, in search of a solution so that Ness could leave a normal life & enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Eating food was one of her top priorities.
Thankfully, Ness and her family found a very good maxillofacial surgeon in Mumbai who specialized in treating such kind of defects. Over a period of time, with all the facilities & equipment’s made available, the surgery was successfully performed.
Finally after a long wait of 12 years, she was able to open her mouth and enjoy her long outstanding desire – that to have good solid food!

Sakshi, a kidney & the super granny!

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Grannies are often the first source of comfort for a kid in an extended family.

It happens at times, without us even knowing – how much we learn, we become – a crystallized metaphor of our previous generations.

Humans have progressed rapidly in the past few decades & so have the complexities of life. Grannies having have lived through this evolutionary phase have given us wonderful insights – mostly bedtime stories – stories in our memories forever.

Then there are super grannies!

Grannies who have gone out of the way to achieve fame, achieve positions.

And then, there are grannies who have given a new lease of life to her grandchild.

This is the story of Sakshi. Sakshi & her super granny.

Barely 9 years old, Sakshi started facing problems.

Health problems.

Serious health problems!

Imagine, being unable to attend school, play with friends, watch TV & have doctors visit your home fairly regularly. Chronic kidney failure, was identified as the root cause – dialysis first & then the harrowing search for a donor. It was billed as a tough task for young Sakshi, but for her granny.

Not her mother, not her father was able to match the requirements for their daughter, seeing which the family Patrician stood up & willingly proved to be a match for the family’s angel.

Such organ donation cases are the need of an hour, such stories that offer a ray of hope, motivation to those who have this concept in mind but take too much time to convert it on paper and above all SAVE LIVES!

Peanuts! Are you nuts?

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Peanuts have always been millions of Indian’s favourite munching pass time. Never would one imagine that apart from suffering from allergic reactions, one can also suffer a near fatal heart attack.
Until that is, this case came to light. The story of a 2 year old, Krishna Yadav who almost choked, nibbling peanuts. Not only did these little pieces of peanuts obstruct his airways, but also led to the toddler suffer a heart attack. Thankfully, a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai has a very good bank of doctors with equipment readily available at their disposal for life saving surgeries across the city in leading private & public hospitals.
When we have such safe hands, there is always hope. Hope that rests soundly among the medical community – who have devotedly given their time in saving other’s life and continue to do so.

The Musings

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Planet Earth. Asia. India. Mumbai.
A blink of the eye from the deep blue skies above.Millions of people, millions of thoughts – all inter-weaved like a giant spider web, yet clear as that of the rails that run across the length of the city. Every morning – people meet, acknowledge one another yet are lost in thoughts – in their own parodies – at times enjoying, at times dreading. This is what the citizens of Mumbai have come to become today, where commerce declares the flow of run-ins.

There were times, in the early 90’s, I still remember – chirping sparrows, tree-lined avenues, whistling trees, families strolling around gardens and occasionally a big red colour (ad free) double-decker bus rumbling through the streets. Buildings hardly taller than 4 stories, brimming to the forth with content faces, enjoying the small things of life. The city had a very clean look to it, the noxious vapors were also significantly lesser. The pressures of peers, work were also manageable.
– Mumbai in Motion | Image By: Jeet Ghosh –
Time travel through to the early 2010’s – stuff has changed and how. Malls the size of Olympic stadia with coasters and all – brimming with activities, restaurants vying over each other, serpentine queues of motor vehicles humming away aimlessly, a thinning line between man and machine. All within city limits we have come to so love.
A land of opportunities, a land of sorrow, a land for equals yet a land divided.
Hoping for the very best of future! The lost golden era. Come soon.