Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Look! Leopards in mid-air
The next time you fly over the outskirts of Gurgaon, don’t forget to look out of the aircraft window. You might spot two leopards painted on a 115-feet-high water tank in what could arguably be the world’s tallest mural artwork.

An aerial view of the mural on the water tank in the outskirts of Gurgaon
An aerial view of the mural on the water tank in the outskirts of Gurgaon

The brainchild of Samir Thapar (of JCT group), the artwork titled Mission Leopard, has been created by a team of artists led by Yantr and project curator Abhishek Kumar Singh, the duo is also associated with the Dadasaheb Phalke mural in Bandra. With a safety crew in tow, the artists required three boom lifts, 480 litres of weatherproof exterior paint and 100 spray cans to paint the 19,500 square feet surface area of the water tank, which is 1,300 feet above sea level.

Boom lifts were used to paint the tank
Boom lifts were used to paint the tank

"When we started in December, we thought it would take us at least a couple of months to finish the work. It was too cold and windy, and we missed a couple of days’ work because of it. However, we’d paint for eight to 10 hours a day and the artwork was ready in 27 days," recalls Singh. As interesting as the mural, is the team’s work-in-progress video. Check it out on

Song and dance about the island neighbour
Dancers from Sri Lanka perform a traditional dance

Dancers from Sri Lanka perform a traditional dance at a recent event held in the city to celebrate the country’s National Day. Pic/Onkar Devlekar

A few good Parsi women
The Bombay Parsi Punchayet’s (BPP) April election is going to be a women’s power war with sitting trustee Armaity Tirandaz’s term coming to an end. Challenging her candidature is former trustee and social worker Arnavaz Mistry, who in the last election trumped her opponent with an 80 per cent majority. Mistry’s efforts at encouraging young Parsis to marry (and within the community) and her work for senior citizens finds permanent place in community newsletters, with elders and the Parsi press gushing over her "obvious victory".

Arnavaz Mistry and Armaity Tirandaz
Arnavaz Mistry and Armaity Tirandaz

"I am not bothered about anything else other than helping people. The election is a way for me to reach out [to the community] better. Barring a few, the new trustees have not really done anything worth mentioning," Mistry told this diarist.

Given Mistry’s fan following, the defiant Tirandaz is quick to say, "I have never indulged in a popularity contest in any case, I have always been a silent worker." Tirandaz, who earned the not-so-flattering sobriquet of Rabri Devi after she won the seat that was left vacant by her husband and trustee Rustom Tirandaz’s demise in 2009, is known to be a staunch traditionalist, trashing reforms that the community is debating, given the falling numbers and endogamy’s fading sheen.

If aggro and April go together, it is not just because of the alliteration. The BPP is a battlefield.

Now, that’s a promise, Mr CM
Devendra Fadnavis
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis will be held to his word, it seems. Sonam Kapoor made the CM promise that he would watch her upcoming film on a mid-air hijack saga, when the two met at the inauguration of a women-centric film festival last morning. Pic/Shadab Khan

Puppy love, coming in a cab
There are so many reasons why we love Uber — air-conditioning, ease of flagging down the cab, low rates, courteous drivers — and now, a cuddly someone. Puppies! Just for this Saturday, which is also Love Your Pet Day, the tap-for-hire cab service has tied up with the NGO, World For All and will — hold your breath — bring you a pup to cuddle and play with. All of this TLC will be available only between 2 to 4 pm. So, ensure that you have an enclosed space (else there are chances that the pup runs away).

Representative Pic
Representative Pic

A member of World For All told this diarist that this initiative has been successful across other cities in India and is coming to Mumbai for the first time.

Remember, however, that you can’t be selfish. The pups will stay with you for 15 minutes, after which they need to get some rest and set out to bring joy to some other soul. All this love comes free of charge, but great joy comes with great responsibility. World For All hopes the initiative will encourage people to sign up for fostering, adoption or simply donation. After all, a little joy deserves a return gift.

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