Mumbai Diary: Monday musings

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

Dhaba culture, Lahori style
In December 2014, two years after the gruesome Delhi gang rape, hashtag #whyloiter was started on Twitter, inspiring women to step out and own public spaces when they felt like.

The group during the Lahore session of ‘Girls at Dhabas’ held last week. Pic courtesy/Aziz Sohail
The group during the Lahore session of ‘Girls at Dhabas’ held last week. Pic courtesy/Aziz Sohail

The hashtag was borrowed from Why Loiter?, a book about women and public spaces, co-written by Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan and Shilpa Ranade. It continues to embolden women across India.

Earlier this year, a similar initiative was started across the border, using the hashtag #girslatdhabas. The Karachi-based project had their first #girlsatdhabas dialogue in Lahore last week, in Model Town Park. “What we were expecting would be an intimate gathering of 10-15 people, turned out to be a show of solidarity with over 50 people in attendance.

People discussed why they were there, their relationship with public space, what allies’ role was in the movement, and how to form a local community in Lahore around the issue of challenging gender expectations,” recalls Natasha Ansari, core team member, who along with Sanayah Malik, Yusra Amjad and Najia Khan, steered the dialogue. Back in Mumbai, Khan reacted, saying, “We at Why Loiter? are very excited and supportive of their movement.” Touche.

Century-old strings attached
Holding auctions for a cause seems to be the trend. The latest to hop on to the bandwagon is musician and Zitar inventor, Niladri Kumar. He is set to auction his approximately 100-year-old sitar — which he played, from the age of eight to 14. The idea was to raise funds to support young, underprivileged musical prodigies.

Niladri Kumar playing a nearly 100-year-old sitar
Niladri Kumar playing a nearly 100-year-old sitar

This sitar has been made by Makhanlal, one of India’s oldest sitar makers, before the Hiren Roy era. If you’re keen to hear Kumar play the instrument one last time before it goes under the hammer, don’t miss the Mumbai edition of his national tour, Stay UPRooted that celebrates the International Year Of The Girl Child.

Slated for October 30 (7.30 pm) at Shanmukhananda Hall (check Bookmyshow for tickets), the concert will also feature percussionist Taufiq Qureshi, Vijay Ghate (tabla), Rashid Ali (vocals, guitar), Sheldon D’Silva (bass) and Prince Mulla (keys).

What’s more, you get to witness a special performance by 12 girls from city-based NGO Vision Rescue, who were trained for a month by Kumar and his team. The team intends to also train talents in Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai and Nagaland.

Bhajji, Geeta get party hearty
The chatterati across the country is abuzz with the wedding of celebrity couple Harbhajan ‘Bhajji’ Singh and Geeta Basra. The soon to be married couple is hosting an exclusive Bollywood-themed bash at their Delhi Chhatarpur farmhouse on October 31.

Today, since weddings have become a package, great detail is put into invites for the big day. Their card, which is in the shape of a clapboard, has the names of the two with details about the party on one side and embossed posters of yesteryear classics on the other.

The Entertainment Design Co said, “The idea is from Harbhajan and Geeta.” We hear this party will see a mix of Bollywooderati (we made up that word) and cricketerati (that one too) with Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra on the guest list. Nice, we say.

Stories about Kashmir
Conservation architect and heritage expert, Abha Narain Lambah’s mother, Kiran Kohli Narain will release her book, called, Kashmir: The Loss of Innocence in Mumbai on October 28. The book looks at how a fiercely progressive father shapes the lives and beliefs of his daughter in an orthodox society.

The cover of the bookThe cover of the book

Abha Narain Lambah
Abha Narain Lambah

A discussion will precede the release of the book. Jyotsana Singh (daughter of Dr Karan Singh and granddaughter of Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu & Kashmir), film actor Sanjay Suri, designer, entrepreneur and social activist Deveika Bhojwani and the author will be in conversation.

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