Mumbai Diary: Friday frolics

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

Rallying cry for T24’s ‘fearful symmetry’
Tiger, tiger, burning bright. The support for T24, also called Ustad, has gained momentum and reached our city as well, with a demonstration held at the gate of Byculla zoo by wildlife lovers on Wednesday.

Ustad, aka T24, at Ranthambore before his removal. Pic/Anuj Singhal, Pune
Ustad, aka T24, at Ranthambore before his removal. Pic/Anuj Singhal, Pune

Who is Ustad, you ask. He is a muscular, handsome, beautifully patterned tiger, a resident of Ranthambore. Suspected of having killed four humans, Ustad has been confined to an enclosure, which many feel is akin to imprisonment for a tiger who has been accustomed to walking free in his domain.

The Facebook page of wildlife magazine Sanctuary Asia has been flooded with photographs and messages supporting Ustad, and suitable hashtags getting attached to the movement. One of the more incongruous ones is #JeSuisUstad, echoing the Charlie Hebdo-supporting “Je Suis Charlie” slogan in France.

We know from our own experience with leopards in Mumbai that human-animal conflict arises out of encroachment by the humans, of course leading to the animal taking protective or defensive measures. There are those who say that focusing on an individual tiger is doing a disservice to the conservation movement as a whole.

While others say that there is nothing to link Ustad with the deaths, and he is being “framed”. We don’t disbelieve that, considering how the female leopard in the city, Bindu, was similarly wrongly “accused”, and was caged for more than a year before being released.

Another factor in the Ustad case is that removing an adult male from his territory will lead to another male moving in to replace him. The replacement will, following the laws of nature, kill Ustad’s cubs in order to further his own line so the “big picture of conservation” argument holds no water.

The way to manage such conflict, we feel, is not to place strictures on animal life but to exercise control over ourselves humans, who are supposed to be thinking beings capable of reasonable action. Although, at times, animals seem far more reasonable than we do, especially going by the crime news in our dailies.

Well, this page adds its two bits to the support for T24. It’s another matter that Ustad may respond to our overtures by sending us flying with a deft swat of his massive paw. It’s all right, we’ll keep our tiger hug virtual!

The numbers behind the art
It's an art show with a difference, starting with its title. South Mumbai’s Gallery Beyond, in association with Kashish Mumbai International Film Festival 2015, is holding a month-long art show The 377191 Wall.

An acrylic on canvas by Kahini Arte Merchant
An acrylic on canvas by Kahini Arte Merchant

This is an exhibition in which 238 artists have come together to express solidarity with the fundamental right of freedom to speech and expression, and the freedom to choose whom to love the two numbers in the title.

While Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution protects the freedom to speech and expression, section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalises same-sex relationships. The group show of 271 mixed-media works reflects on both these issues and will run for a month between May 23 and June 27 from 11am to 6.30pm at Gallery Beyond, Great Western Building, Fort.

The exhibition coincides with the sixth edition of Kashish, to be held between May 27 and 31, 2015, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the artworks will go as fundraising for Kashish. The exhibition includes the work of prominent artists such as Lalitha Lajmi, Brinda Miller, Baiju Parthan and Kahini Arte Merchant.

Artiste State of Bengal no more
We heard sad news from the world of music on Wednesday Sam Zaman, better known by his DJ name, State of Bengal, had passed away after a cardiac arrest in the UK. He was 50.

Sam Zaman, or State of Bengal. Pic/courtesy Nadabrahma
Sam Zaman, or State of Bengal. Pic/courtesy Nadabrahma

Music critic Narendra Kusnur, who posted the news that was first reported on the website nadabrahma.co.uk, mentioned hearing the Bangladeshi-born, London-based Zaman play at the Razzberry Rhinoceros in the city in the 1990s.

Zaman has played in India several times after that as well, and in the city most recently in 2013. Zaman was a part of the Asian Underground music scene in London, and probably his best-known track is Flight IC408.

E-Definitions
Compress: Reducing the size of files you should throw away.
Hard Disk: A device tht enables you to keep files you don’t need.
Warranty: Period in which your PC does not break.
Multimedia: The unnecessary in search of the undoable.

Free charging point?
The first foot overbridge at Andheri station has these two smart card machines to help commuters book tickets. With a bench placed nearby, a number of commuters use the smart card power points to charge their phones.

A man charging his phone at the smart card charging point at Andheri station foot overbridgeA man charging his phone at the smart card charging point at Andheri station foot overbridge

Commuters who are in need of charge for their phone, simply unplug the smart card machines and insert their phone chargers in the point. They either stand or sit as per the length of their charger wires. This charging of phones is causing inconvenience to others, especially those who use the machines to book their tickets.

They have to request those charging their phone to replug the smart card machines and then book their tickets. A few commuters complained of delays and of the machines not working well due to the plugging and unplugging.

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