Mumbai Diary: Friday Dossier

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

An eye-catching idea
OTs, OPDs and now, an art installation. There’s a vibrant new attraction inside the campus of Seth GS Seth Medical College and KEM Hospital that is catching the attention of visitors and patients alike.

Step into Mumbai’s busiest civic medical facility, and it’s hard to miss the LED-lit artwork with white walking sticks, each bearing a name. We hear it is a gift from an NGO that works for the welfare and research of ophthalmology, with a message to spread the word about eye donation.

Dr Quresh Maskati, veteran ophthalmologist and KEM alumnus, who is a part of the NGO, explained the idea behind the installation. “This artwork symbolises the gift of sight to 100 blind persons who no longer need the blind man cane.

Each cane has the name of the blind person who was given sight, along with his age and city of residence,” he said. Illuminated with LED bulbs, to represent the gift of sight, the installation conveys the powerful message of promoting eye donation, the doctor added.

The installation, created by an artist named Anagha Nidvekar from JW Thompson, cost roughly R1.5 lakh. While the first one is a gift from the NGO to the hospital for its commendable efforts in the field of healthcare, Maskati said they have plans to set up similar installations at every BMC hospital.

“We hope that people and organisations engaged in CSR will come forward to help us build such installations at public and private hospitals. Every cane is a gift of sight, and if people are inspired, there won't be a single blind person.”

For Art Deco cinema’s sake
Kolkata and Mumbai are two cities with grand buildings, many of them standing as grand legacies of their colonial past. These symbols are fast disappearing to make space for real estate.

New Empire cinema shut down in 2014New Empire cinema shut down in 2014

The latest to come under the threat of the hammer in the City of Joy is Roxy theatre. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has downgraded this Art Deco building from its heritage status to allow easy demolition. Prominent Kolkatans, including writer Amit Chaudhuri, have expressed shock and anger.

He pointed out that once saved, it can be used for many a creative pursuit. He along with many citizens have started a campaign to save the theatre. Mumbai’s Capitol and New Empire cinemas have met with the same fate. We hope the existing single-screen Art Deco cinemas survive, and if they meet with Roxy’s end, we hope Mumbaikars will rise.

Safe in the city
A lot has been written about and debated over when it comes to women’s safety, especially on Mumbai’s roads. While this city’s women have it better than their counterparts in other Indian metros, things are not as they used to be.

So, a recent observation came as a pleasant surprise to the diarist. At 10.30 pm on a weekday, after dropping a colleague at Dadar railway station, our cab was stopped by a woman police officer at a small check post located near Swaminarayan temple.

Register in tow, she asked the driver for his full name, address and noted his taxi number. When the visibly worried driver asked why, she said, “There’s a girl travelling alone in your cab. This is routine info.” Post this she requested for our details too.

When we asked the woman cop if this had become protocol, she replied in the affirmative, adding that the practice was enforced, especially post 9 pm because a lot of women travel solo post office hours. We are glad that some things are changing for the better.

Sachin in the driver’s seat


Pic/Atul Kamble

The master blaster dropped by for the inauguration of a skykarting track in Lower Parel last evening.

Write a poem, get a free coffee
It’s a novel way to encourage poetry, and get a caffeine-induced reward for the attempt. Julius Meinl, a coffee-roasting company started in 1862, is giving a whole new meaning to UNESCO’s World Poetry Day that falls on March 21.

The poetry-inspired folk at Meinl’s have announced a promotion across outlets in the UK, US and Australia (sorry, none in India). On the day, the cafés will offer free coffee to customers who hand over their poems.

This unique idea is expected to take place across 30 countries and in 1,000 locations that serve the coffee. If you’d like to read these poetry posts, check out #PoetryForChange and #PayWithAPoem

Look who’s a Saina fan!

India’s golden girl of badminton, Saina Nehwal celebrated her birthday yesterday, and wishes poured in from all sides, including from Amitabh Bachchan who posted this message on Twitter: ‘....may you ever bring greater glory for the nation.’ A smash hit!

Dishy in the Maldives
This diarist believes he’s the closest we can get to a desi version of Aussie hot-bod Hugh Jackman.

Going by his posts, actor Kunal Kapoor seems to be having a splash of a time in the balmy waters of the Maldives. It’s a Male domain for sure.

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