Counting potholes

Counting potholes

So it is now completely official. According to the BMC (no less),Mumbai now has some 288 potholes.

So it is now completely official. According to the BMC (no less),Mumbai now has some 288 potholes. (Or maybe the number was 293,but somewhere in the vicinity,certainly less than Viru’s highest score in Test matches.)

Which is great news,certainly worthy of admiration. But my question is: How did the guy,who counted the potholes,actually count the potholes?

“Achcha,gentlemens… we are having important task to finish before lunch time. We are having to count all potholes.”

“On which road,sirji?”

“On all roads,idiotji.”

“On which all roads of which area,sirji?”


“All roads. All areas. All wards. Full Mumbai That Used To Be Bombay.”

“Before lunch,sirji?”

“Yes. Commissioner wants. Media is pressuring.”

“Okay sirji. But I have one question on deadline.”


“Before lunch,or before dessert which we normally have just after lunch?”

Our team of one brave BMC official then walks out of BMC office and ponders plan with his sidekick:

“Achcha,we are having to count all potholes in all Mumbai That Used To Be Bombay,before lunch.”


“Okay? You do not think it is difficult job?”


“No? So how you will go about,hanh?”

“Sirji,we have two options: option one we can use NASA method.”

“Which is?”

“First we have to define what is pothole,then we will send out Mars Rover to probe whether what we think is pothole is actually pothole,then…”

“Okay,what is other method?”

“Other method is Mumbai (That Used To Be Bombay) Aaj Ka Pecial Method.”

“Which is?”

“Think of a number from one to anything.”

“Any number?’

“No sirji,not any number. Think of 288.”


“What number you have thought?”


“Okay good. Now let us have early lunch.”

“Bas? That’s all? We are not needing to count all potholes?”

“Arre sirji,then we have to go back to NASA method and then…”

“Okay,okay. 288.”

“Good. Now lunch. What you will have,sirji? Ussal pau? Missal pau? Vada pau?”

So that same fateful afternoon our hero goes back to his boss,just before his boss’s lunch and says quietly:



“288. The number of all potholes in the city of Mumbai That Used To Be Bombay is 288.”

“Achcha? You are sure?”

“Yes sirji. I have counted personally.”

“You counted all the way up to Dahisar?”

“Yes sirji.”

“And Eastern side?”

“Up to Thane That Used To Be Thana,sirji.”


“Yes sirji.”

“That’s not bad at all. You know I thought the figure might be a little higher.”

“Yes sirji,I also thought,but it is 288. Eggjhact!”

“Okay good. Call press conference.”

“Right away sirji.”

“288,huh? That’s good news. Commissioner sahib will be very happy. I don’t know why all these presswallas are always grumbling! Sensationalism,I tell you,they are always wanting to sensationalise everything! 288,huh? Amazing! But you know I think you are right. Yesterday,I drove all the way down Marine Drive and I counted only 33 potholes,so all of Mumbai That Used To Be Bombay,288 sounds correct.”


“Yes? What is it?”

“I have one humble request.”


“Sirji,I know BMC is now considering plan to name all bigger potholes after our deserving politicians,dead or alive.”

“Yes,yes. It is very serious plan. We will have inauguration even,of the bigger potholes,17 meters and above,from next monsoon onwards. Item girls will cut ribbon.”

“Yes,sirji. So I was wondering…”


“Would it be possible to name just one pothole,just one small one,after me?”


Postscript: There is an anonymous,humble officer in the BMC who gets my vote for Genius of the Century. No,sorry,make that Genius of the Millenium,or Genius of the “Whatever’s Bigger Than Millenium” and so on and so forth and see ya next monsoon!