When IR gives you lemons, make a lemonade

A video by some alert citizen rapidly went viral yesterday. It was that of work in progress at a stall on Kurla’s platform no. 7/8. The video showed an enterprising stall contractor employee in the act of making the much-in-demand nimbu-paani in a most unique manner.

These acts are performed by trained professionals. Don’t try this at home.

Central Railway’s media managers went into immediate damage control mode, taking great pains to inform everyone that the stall has been sealed. They also told us that the stall dispensing the nectar was sealed, and vendor summoned, perhaps to demonstrate the creative process.

This isn’t the first time that such innovation by catering staff, contracted or railway employee, has been noticed. Needless to say, Mumbailars were fascinated.

We’ve all seen videos of tea made, ostensibly from fevicol instead of milk – a boon in the days of milk scarcity; mind you. We’ve seen harried catering staff using the regularly cleaned and sanitized environment of a toilet cubicle to quickly transfer the liquid contents of a container to another. We’ve seen enterprising go-getters take it upon themselves to collect and deliver food orders from passengers in trains that babus deem unworthy of catering to.

We’ve seen these enterprising vendors supply complimentary food to famished security and ticket checking staff on the train. Such generosity is commendable.

We’ve seen it all. Only the powers-that-be don’t see for some intriguing reason. It is likely several of them wear special glasses that make such innovation invisible to their eyes. And now that they are used to those glasses, it must be quite tough to get by without them.

Sales of nimbupaani on platforms will have dramatically ebbed for today. But IR, IRCTC and the babus of the dozen other govt agencies that oversee everything, but see nothing, understand their captive passengers well.

They know that faced with somewhat bigger daily distractions like decrepit FOBs, narrow, overcrowded, uneven platforms, giga-ultra-mega-super-dense-crush loads in Mumbai locals, passengers will soon return to the safety and comfort of the comparatively benign nectar concocted from dirty water, human sweat and grime, with some lemons thrown in. An immunity booster like no other.

After all, everyone knows that Mumbaikars live by a famous line: “When life gives you lemons, make a lemonade.”

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About the Author: Alok Patel


  1. Loads of adjectives again targeting IR when in reality Mumbai or more precisely Slumbai lives by chalta Hai attitude. Is this only about IR or Mumbai attitude in general?

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