It’s not uncommon for politicians to talk about ‘wishing’ for a better nightlife for Mumbai. It’s a card that many — except some like RR Patil, who seem to enjoy controversies — have used to their advantage time and again. They make a few vague statements about how essential 24x7 functioning for a city as maximum as Mumbai is, and then expect to make it into the ‘cool club’. Many even succeed.
The biggest news for nightlife fans came in the form of a shocker this week — Aaditya Thackeray (Yuva Sena chief and son of Shiv Sena chairperson, Uddhav Thackeray) is keen on ensuring that we have a life after-hours. So, in keeping with the trend, he’s now made it to that long list of well-wishers.
Maharashtra’s chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan, also compared us to the textbook city, Shanghai, while making similar claims last year. Aaditya, however, used the more hip New York reference.
As expected, he has earned some favour. After all, he did speak like a 21st century individual, when he “asked Makrand Narvekar (independent municipal corporator backed by the Shiv Sena) to table this proposal in the BMC”. But there is a catch. Although he feels “Mumbai deserves to have some nightlife”, he wants only eateries, milk shops and chemists to be allowed to stay open 24 hours. A question about nightclubs — read: anything related to alcohol — evoked a straight ‘no’. Reports claim that even Bal Thackeray used to enjoy beer. And he liked his mug warm, according to a veteran columnist. Why, then, have pubs been left out of the proposal? Nightlife in global cities — which is clearly what Aaditya wants Mumbai to be — isn’t limited in this sense. There are entertainment zones, for instance.
But then, who are we kidding? This is the same young man who, in 2010, led a campaign against Rohinton Mistry’s Such A Long Journey. He reportedly hadn’t even read the book before having it dropped from Mumbai University’s English Literature syllabus. And to top that, he’s a published author himself!
Nonetheless, I’ll be the happiest if he gets the curfew extended for restaurants. I will. I’m sure bhel puri, a chilled pitcher of milk and some ambient music
will keep our appetite for nightlife satiated. We’ll make compromises. At least, it’ll be a start. Until then, I’ll just wish he stands by what he has said, and I really hope this proposal isn’t just about a budding politician having learnt to say the right things at the right time.