Mumbai Diary: Friday frolics

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

Talking books
Mumbai's premier literary festival, Literature Live, which began yesterday, is in its fifth year and going strong, if the lineup of events and participants is anything to go by.

It’s not just ivory-tower bookish discussions either there are performances, readings and talks on subjects as diverse as the Marwari community, women in the workplace, environmentalism, and detective shows.

We are looking forward in particular to a couple of events, both at the NCPA — Prison Diaries on Saturday at 10.30am, in which Arun Ferreira and others talk about the price of being a political dissenter in India; and Surviving the Death of the Independent Media, a discussion between journalists and writers, chaired by Sidharth Bhatia, on Sunday at 3.30pm. Events are held at both NCPA and Prithvi Theatre, so check for details.

Spells like world peace
It is Halloween Day today and the city’s witches and wizards (yes, you heard it right) will be performing special spells. Members of Wicca – the modern pagan, witchcraft religion in the city – will perform rituals for World Peace and Harmony.

Anuja Gala, at last year’s Halloween celebration at her store
Anuja Gala, at last year’s Halloween celebration at her store

Anuja Gala, a witch who runs Pentacle, a store in Lokhandwala that specialises in tarot and angel cards reading, runic forecast, crystal gazing, healing sessions, spells and products, will perform the spell at 6pm at the store.

The High Priestess at the ceremony, Gala says, “I have called a few of my students to join me. Halloween is the day that noble souls roam the Earth. We will draw their energy via a ritual to cast a spell for world peace.

With war all around, this is the need of the hour. This day marks the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter. It is also called as Witch or Wizard’s New Year.”

Last year, the witches in the city cast a spell for safety of women in Mumbai after the gang-rape at Shakti Mills. “Last year, our spells were very successful; this year too we are confident that the spirits will listen to our prayer.

All energies will combine and pray for a noble cause and the good of the universe,” says Gala. Explaining the details of what they will do, Gala says, “We have arranged traditional Halloween games like apple bobbing, pumpkin carving and a fancy dress competition where one is free to dress like a witch or a ghost or a zombie.

We will end the service with offerings to the Universe and Mother Earth. These will be pumpkin or apples or corn as a tradition that is followed by all Wiccan witches and wizards around the world.”

Music and memories
Yes, people laugh when Mumbaikars say “winter”, but you do know the season is upon us when Indian classical music starts ringing out.

Striking a nostalgic note for Dr Bhupen Hazarika
Striking a nostalgic note for Dr Bhupen Hazarika

One of the events scheduled to be held is a tribute to late music director, composer and singer Dr Bhupen Hazarika, a musical evening called ‘Jajabor’. Singers Usha Mangeshkar, Shaan, Zubeen Garg, Mausumi Saharia and Hazarika’s nephew Mayukh will present a medley.

There is also Indian classical dance, by Prateesha Suresh and troupe. Those who are moved by Hazarika’s concord of sweet sounds make their way to Tata Theater, NCPA on November 4 at 7 pm for ‘Jajabor: A Tribute to Bhupenda, A Tribute to Life’, marks the 3rd death anniversary of Hazarika.

We think Hazarika may have approved. Most importantly, the event is free and passes can be collected at the venue. You know what they say about those who have left us, they are always here in spirit.

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