Mumbai Diary: Saturday scene

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

So that we never forget
Thursday, April 16, saw a solemn gathering in the evening of Mumbai’s Jews, Bene Israelis and Baghdadi Jews at the Evelyn Peters Jewish Community Centre, DG Ruparel College in Matunga (W).

Israel’s Deputy Consul General, Matan Zamir (l) with other members of the community at the meet
Israel’s Deputy Consul General, Matan Zamir (l) with other members of the community at the meet

They had assembled for Yom HaShaoh, the Jewish Holocaust Day when Jews all over the world honour the six million from the community who were tortured and killed by the Nazis during World War II. Israel’s Deputy Consul General, Matan Zamir, was present. Prayers, poetry and poignant sharing of thoughts made the two-hour-long event a warm, special tribute.

Two highlights that stood out were the lighting of six candles (to commemorate the 6 million who laid their lives down) by six members of the community, young and old, and the screening of The Lady in Number 6, the Academy Award-winning 2013 documentary-short film by Malcolm Clarke.

There was not a dry eye in the hall when the credits rolled at the end of the 39-minute film, as the group watched pianist Alice Herz-Sommer’s passion for music and her positive approach counter the horrific phase. She was the oldest survivor at 109 years, when the movie was made. The sense of community, brotherhood and peace for all echoed well after the memorial ended.

Poles apart at the polls
The Narayan Rane-Trupti Sawant tussle for the Bandra East Assembly seat will be remembered, among other things, for Rane’s aggressive confidence, and the Sena’s guerrilla warfare which ultimately won them the battle played out in the courtyard of late Sena chief Bal Thackeray and his son Uddhav.

Pre-poll debates focused on Rane, with many people questioning whether the ex-CM had been advised properly before taking the plunge. Countering this argument, Rane’s supporters maintained that the situation was favourable for him and senior Congress leaders were working together for his victory (later, Rane’s loss was blamed on these same leaders!).

Utterly confused political journalists struggled to predict the outcome of the by-election even as all stakeholders claimed victory much before the votes were cast. Among all this cacophony, there was one leader who was consistent in predicting Rane’s loss.

Ex-DCM Ajit Pawar had been telling the media, albeit off the record (his uncle Sharad Pawar even campaigned for Rane), that he had advised Rane to stay away from contesting because of many factors. Incidentally, the factors that Ajit discussed in informal talks are being openly spoken about by the Ranes.

BEST help for visually impaired
The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has devised a method for the visually impaired to know which bus is approaching and to board it with relative ease. The device, known as OnBoard, has been tested in the city and was launched yesterday, to be used on two BEST bus routes 121 and 134.

The OnBoard device being demonstrated at the Colaba bus depot yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The OnBoard device being demonstrated at the Colaba bus depot yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The device consists of a user module for the passenger, and a bus module with a speaker that is fitted next to the front entrance of the bus. Using radio frequency, it can tell the user which bus is approaching, and if the user wants to board it the driver of the bus is also alerted. The user is guided by sound to the entrance of the bus.

OnBoard has been devised in collaboration with Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged, and Mumbai First, as well as BEST. In initial trials, users reported that the device was too big to be carried comfortably, among other things.

The developers are planning to come out with an improved version, and intend to install it in more buses as well. While many of us have helped the visually impaired to board buses, and find the right bus, the device will go a long way in making the visually impaired even more independent.

Make your Saturday spiritual
Saturday nights are well, Saturday nights. Yet, we say not all nights have to be like Saturday nights. You know the party-sharty kinds. Instead, for those who want a little dose of spirituality this Saturday, the Holy Cross Church Kurla (W) have a musical for the public.

Drop by the school grounds for the staging of Messiah A Musical that depicts the story of Jesus Christ as told by the gospels. It highlights Christ’s life, death and resurrection.

What is surprising is that the cast, which comprises mostly children, offers a terrific re-enactment of Christ’s journey, complete with costumes from the era, music and sets. Don’t miss the second show, today, at the church grounds on LBS Marg, from 8 pm onwards. Entry is free and open to all.

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