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Mumbaiwale: From AHAR to USA, cool short-forms in the big city

One city, so many abbreviations. In a Mumbai short on space and time, here are my favourite truncations

mumbai Updated: May 04, 2019 00:46 IST
Rachel Lopez
Rachel Lopez
Hindustan Times
mumbai,rachel lopez,mumbaiwale
Oval Cooperage Residents Association) was instrumental in turning the Oval Maidan from a dump to a free public space.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Locals of a certain vintage might recall a few things about the single-screen movie experience. Splurging for Dress Circle seats. Pastel-coloured tickets. Chipniks. They might also remember some tittering when one message flashed on the screen before the film. It referred to the BED Act, an acronym that generated a few X-rated jokes.

The term merely stands for the Bombay Entertainments Duty Act, under which a tax must be paid (originally to the Bombay Presidency, later to Maharashtra) to screen a film.

It’s one of several interesting Mumbai abbreviations that are part of Mumbai life.

ALM: Advanced Locality Management. The initiative was launched in 1997 to get citizens and neighbourhoods to collaborate with the BMC on better solid waste management. Over two decades, they’ve also worked towards better governance and civic services.

AHAR: The tasty-sounding name for the (Indian) Association of Hotels and Restaurants, largely made up of south Indian restaurant owners. Mumbai has 8,000 members, from your neighbourhood Udupi to 3-star hotels.

BEST: The Bombay Electric Supply & Tramway Company Limited was set up in 1905, starting an electric tram service in 1907 and bus services since 1926. The first buses ran between Afghan Church and Crawford Market. By the end of the first year, they had 6 lakh passengers!

BOSLA: The Bombay Science Librarians’ Association, one of the city’s oldest library groups. Set up in the 1970s, it’s helped set up libraries and inter-library schemes. Last year’s annual lecture covered source databases, cloud storage, navigational and discovery tools, remote access applications and how to attract new users.

BRA: Mumbai’s foremost club for rock music enthusiasts. Set up in 1997, it’s where 10,000 fans have built a community and produced 275 rock-related events.

BRAVO: An affirming name for the Bandra Reclamation Area Volunteers Organisation. It works with the city and state roadways departments to maintain the promenade and gardens at Bandra Reclamation. No, they’re not the ones moral policing the couples by the water.

BRIMSTOWAD: My favourite. The Brihanmumbai Stormwater Disposal System project has long been planned to modernise and upgrade the city’s drains and sanitation. Some pipe systems are more than 100 years old. But the project never took off and keeps getting more expensive by the monsoon.

MaKaBo: Malad-Kandivli-Borivli. Not quite as catchy as SoBo but the area does have more skyscrapers, more affordable homes and a lot more malls.

MIG: Middle Income Group. It makes you wonder why the MIG Cricket Club in Bandra East is so snooty.

OCRA: No ladies fingers, sorry. The Oval Cooperage Residents Association has been active since 1978 and was instrumental in turning the Oval Maidan from a dump, overgrown with grass and harbouring drug addicts, to a free, open, public space.

SEEPZ: It’s in Anderi East but its full form is Santacruz Electronic Export Processing Zone. The premises are closed to the public but once a year, on the second Sunday of May, the centuries-old St John the Baptist Church opens for one service. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see the church ruins and the patch of green.

SENSEX: Nothing sensational. The term stands for the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index, a stock-market report card of the benchmark listed companies. Another list, of the National Stock Exchange top 50 performers is called the NIFTY 50.

TPS: If you’ve wondered why Bandra’s roads have numbers, you’ll have to go back in time for the answer. Bandra’s Town Planning Scheme was launched in 1927. Small plots owned by farmers were taken over to build planned housing projects and shops all the way towards Khar, leaving room for open space.

USA: Ulhasnagar Sindhi Association. There was no such entity, but the short form, USA, came in handy in the 1980s when India hungered for imported, branded goods but couldn’t yet buy them. Sindhi-owned manufacturing companies produced counterfeit jeans, watches, bags and such. Your gear was ‘Made in USA’, just not the USA you wanted.

First Published: May 04, 2019 00:45 IST