Mumbai Diary: Monday Dossier
Reefs over tourism
While Mumbai’s waters are not home to coral reefs and other stunning underground spectacles (plastic and garbage are more likely to be found on our sea bed, sadly), we were impressed when we read about Thailand’s tough laws as far as saving the environment go. A few days back, its government banned tourist activities in three islands off Phuket as it feared that 80% of its coral reefs were at risk.
Despite booming tourism in the region, authorities put the fragile ecosystem above everything else. That will be the day when similar strict controls are implemented by desi lawmakers if they prioritise the environment over tourism and commercial interests. Let’s start by leaving Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Aarey Colony alone.
Next time, I’ll write a storybook for kids
Author-poet Gulzar watches a young reader at a Bandra bookstore where his latest title, Another 100 Lyrics, was released over the weekend. Translator of the book, Sunjoy Shekhar is seen to the left.
He’s on a seven-million high
We’re not quite sure if there was a whiff of humility here. But Chetan Bhagat was over the moon a few days back when his Twitter following touched seven million.
An autographed note posted on Twitter admitted that he wasn’t a cricket superstar or a Bollywood actor, and not even the Prime Minister but just a writer. He added: ‘What can I say? Thank you guys. 7 million times over.’ Publicity — just another name for humility? We’re just saying.
Mohali before Mumbai!
We were waiting, and looks like there will be some more of it. After wowing Delhi NCR and Bengaluru with their value-friendly, high-street fashion, H&M had Mohali’s shopaholics celebrate the opening of its first outlet, and India’s sixth. If you’re scratching your head in bewilderment about why Mohali pipped Mumbai; well, do a quick memory jog to those shopping trips to malls in that part of India, and the ‘I-am-a-pauper’ feel that hit you. Get the picture? The good news — the chain plans to open two outlets in Mumbai. We hear you.
We stand for the rainbow
Celebrities across Mumbai showed up in support for the Kashish Mumbai International queer film fest. Over the weekend, a panel discussion was held at Liberty cinema on Freedom of Expression and Censorship in Indian cinema.
The panelists included film personalities Nandita Das (centre), Onir, Apurva Asrani and Sridhar Rangayan (left), while theatre personality Dolly Thakore (right) was spotted in in the audience. Filmmaker and mid-day columnist Meenakshi Shedde was the moderator for the engaging discussion.
Humans of Kashmir
Kashmiris pundits have become the subject of political slugfests. The grief of leaving home under the fear of the gun, however, lives on with them. The effect of speech wars between zealous patriots and secessionists on ending tension is anybody’s guess.
A scene from the video clip
In contrast, a heartwarming tale from the valley stole the show recently. The person who uploaded the video calls it Kashmiriyat. He writes, “I shot this video clip today at Kokernag, the native place of my wife (sic) Ek pehloo yeh bhi hai Kashmir ki Tasveer ka. The man in the video is Kokernag’s Abdul Razzak Wagay. He told my wife that he had borrowed Rs 80 from her father, late Soom Nath Kaul before migration, and could not return that money. Now he wanted to return Rs 80. After hearing this, my wife got emotional.”
Seeing will be believing
Contemporary, Breaking, Ballet and Kathak will come together for a performance at the Veer Sawarkar Auditorium in Shivaji Park on June 10. Dhrut, the latest dance production by the Sumeet Nagdev Dance Arts will synchronise dance forms with live music.
Visually impaired keyboard player Jayant Pawar’s performance where he will give the impression that he can see dancers and blend in with their movement is expected to be a surprise. The 50-minute piece will present the concept of time transition through space.
The production featuring two women and two male dancers along with three musicians has been selected for the Erasing Borders Dance Festival in New York scheduled for August, to represent India at an international stage. We can’t wait to see this gig bring the dancefloor alive.
A green and white pitch
This one should intrigue the cricket buff, irrespective of which side of the border s/he hails from. Following Peter Oborne’s award-winning global success with Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan comes a new volume, White on Green (Simon & Schuster India) written with Richard Heller, to celebrate the extraordinary story of Pakistan cricket.
For one, we’re sure to discover fascinating stories about the mind-boggling talent that continues to emerge from a country in turmoil — be it due to government policy, administrative interventions and player conflicts and terror threats.
The book, we’re told will celebrate players of Dera Ismail Khan, who appeared when their side lost by a world-record margin of an innings and 851 runs; and from the Khan sisters, who helped develop the women’s game in Pakistan, despite threats from those who believed their actions to be immoral.
The book will also hear from the greats of Pakistan cricket, past and present, who provide a revealing picture of the unique hurdles they faced, at home and abroad. This should make for a nail-biter of a different kind.