Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

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

An ode to the Birdman of India
Other than celebrate Diwali on November 12, avian and nature lovers celebrate Dr Salim Ali, the Birdman of India, whose birth anniversary falls on the same day, observed as Birdwatchers’ Day in India.

Rohan Chakravarty
A frame from The Birdman of India by Rohan Chakravarty. Copyright/Rohan Chakravarty,

Rohan Chakravarty, creator of, an online platform for illustrations and comics on all things green, reminded this diarist of a delightful ode that he created on Dr Salim Ali last year.

The artist
The artist

Captured in 30 frames, it relives the extraordinary life of Dr Ali using lively visuals. He ode was first published on the digital version of National Geographic Traveller India (, and is available in the form of prints in different sizes. For a slice, log on to

November rains in Mumbai
With a line up that includes some of Mumbai’s brightest and eclectic writers, it’s a session you don’t want to miss.

Mustansir Dalvi, Sampurna Chattarji and Ranjit Hoskote
Mustansir Dalvi, Sampurna Chattarji and Ranjit Hoskote

From Ranjit Hoskote to Mustansir Dalvi, Sampurna Chattarji, Priya Sarukkai and Devashish Makhija, there’s plenty to look forward to at another session of Pen@Prithvi —November Rain. Today’s event will be held at Prithvi House in Juhu, from 8 pm onwards. It’s free, so get there early.

It’s bachcha party time!
You’re never too old to celebrate Children’s Day and we have The Bombay Canteen vouch for that. Lower Parel’s chic café and bar invites you to revisit your kiddie days at their Children’s Day Mela. Rewind to retro with games like Hopscotch, Toss The Ring and even capture memorable moments at the photo booth.

Not hooked yet? Check out their Children’s Day special eats menu that gives a twist to some old-time favourites. Try Goan Sausage Fryums, Phish Fingers, Grilled Chatpata Bhutta or Rava Onion Bhaji with Boodie’s ketchup. For tipplers, there’s Grown Up Rasna Fruit Punch and a Rooh Afza-inspired cocktail too. However, the day-long affair comes with a hitch: kids below 18 will be ushered out by 7 pm while the bada bachchas get a late-night pass.

Coming Soon
Art and culture buffs should look to creating space on their bookshelves for an exhaustive repository on India’s rich folk and tribal art.

The soon-to-be-launched title, Between Memory and Museum by Arun Wolf & Gita Wolf of Tara Books, is an insightful dialogue with 38 folk and tribal artists from across India, and focusses on the idea of the museum, particularly as seen by communities historically regarded as anthropological subjects.

The visual interpretation of these artists and their reflections on the museum as an institution, are equally enlightening. The book releases on November 28.

Music for the soul
The 15th edition of Ruhaniyat is scheduled in Mumbai, starting November 28, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. To celebrate this milestone, the festival will incorporate additions to the original format. Workshops will be held from November 27 to 29 by eminent scholars and performers like Madan Gopal Singh and Parvathy Baul.

Parvathy Baul during a performance
Parvathy Baul during a performance

The performances will include unique acts like throat singing from the mountains of Mongolia where the singer produces two, at times, three sounds as he sings the mystic verses. Attend several collaborations between international and Indian artistes in the evenings, including an Indo-African production, called When Hearts Connect.

The festival will also see some first-timers like the Nagaaris of North-east and Sounds of Isha. Don’t miss performances by Bhai Nirmal Singh & Group (Punjab), Timmu Gulfam & Group and Sabri Brothers who will the perform Qawwali.

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