Mumbai Diary: Sunday Dossier

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

Don't be suspicious, says this music video
Musician Nirdosh Sobti, who once won a music reality show, is scoping in on the fact that you can spread any message you want through music. The singer's new song Bukkal, which is heavy on the rock vibes interspersed with Punjabi lyrics, has a video that will make people think. It shows a Muslim man, who is doing ordinary chores like getting his phone repaired and taking pictures around town, but even these are regarded “fishy” by people around him, who think he may be making a bomb. “The lyrics go 'meri bukkal de vich chor' which means 'you (the audience), are culprit'. Who else can only speculate a man is fitting a bomb in a mobile phone, when he is just getting it repaired?” says Sobti, adding, “The video aims to ask people to stop being sceptical and treating a particular religion badly. Every religion just wants to spread peace and harmony.” True that.

Nirdosh Sobti

Clearing the air
The city's smog (if you haven't noticed it yet, you have been living in an air-conditioned bubble) has become such an entity that it deserves what every city celebrity deserves — its own Twitter account. But, we were still surprised to wake up on Friday morning to a tweet from @MumbaiSmoke, talking of the city's rising pollution levels, and enjoying all the attention it was getting. This diarist spoke to the man behind the account — he's well-known in city circles for giving up a plush corporate job to travel around Europe and America (yes, it sounds like a tough life) and is back in Mumbai for a break. “I realised that if San Francisco's fog, Karl, can have a twitter account, why not Mumbai's smog. Of course, Karl is a healthy cover unlike what Mumbai has,” he says, ready to speak at 9.30 am (jet lag?).

While the tweets are witty, our man here (the fun of a parody account is in the anonymity), hopes it does more that just bring a few laughs. This Mumbai resident is stereotypical in his hatred for all things Delhi. To a tweet by a senior journalist that Mumbai to not go “the Delhi way”, @MumbaiSmoke tweeted, “No chance. I'm on it. Mumbai will always have a better, more sophisticated, slightly cooler class of smoke. Me!”

While we love the wit, we could do with the smoke.

Give us banter anytime, not send-off sights
THE animated 'send-off' India's Virat Kohli gave fellow batting star Steve Smith of Australia during the opening T20 international at Adelaide the other night, has attracted much attention. Smith, who according to Kohli, was sledging the Indian bowlers, holed out to Kohli at cover off Ravindra Jadeja for 21. While we worry about the conduct of players, we also think about the kind of banter players of a different era indulged in to upset a batsman or bowler.

KING OF BANTER: Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad. PIC/AFP
KING OF BANTER: Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad. PIC/AFP

Pakistan's Javed Miandad was a master at this. Batting in the Bangalore Test of the 1983-84 series, Miandad kept asking the wily India left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi for his hotel room number. When Doshi wondered why Miandad wanted his room number, Miandad (as mentioned in his autobiography Cutting Edge) told him, “You've put all your fielders so far away, why don't you place one of them in your hotel room.' Doshi may have not gone on to dismiss Miandad in that innings, but he could have been thrilled to see the perky Pakistani sent back for 99 courtesy a catch by substitute Krishnamachari Srikkanth off S Madan Lal. Miandad was gutted after missing out on a century. Many years later, Miandad was up against huge Aussie pace bowler Merv Hughes whom he called a “big, fat bus conductor.” Soon, Hughes dismissed Miandad and while the Pakistani batting stalwart made his way to the pavilion, Hughes ran up to him and asked, “ticket please.”

Make way for me
Vivek Oberoi

Actor Vivek Oberoi arrives at the annual function of Podar International School to felicitate students for their efforts to generate funds for Habitat for Humanity India, a NGO that builds homes for marginalised families. Pic/Suresh Karkera

For the love of the crafts
Last week, the Shrujan Trust launched Living and Learning Design Centre (LLDC) in Bhuj, which opens to the public in February next month. One of its highlight is the crafts museum.

The brainchild of Chanda Shroff, who founded the trust in 1969 as a drought-relief venture in Bhuj, Kutch, it soon turned its focus on craft revival and income generation for artists after she visited Dhaneti, a nearby village. Here, she noticed, that none of the women from the Ahir Community accepted free-handouts. They preferred to pay (if they had money) or offer to work. “They wore beautiful embroidered clothes, and my mother decided to encourage them to make them commercially, and help them sell their work. That is when the focus turned to craft revival and income generation for artists,” Ami, Chanda's daughter explains.

“Over the years, we helped other textile crafts such as ajrakh, pottery, weaving as well. The museum has 1,180 embroidered textiles, documented research work, work for which has been on since 2002,” says Ami, adding that construction work for the museum began in 2009, and it is done using green architecture techniques. “Spread across 85,000 square feet, the main components of the LLDC are the crafts museum, the research wing and the craft studio,” says Ami, adding that a crafts school is in the pipeline and will come up in the next five years.

Find love in a 'giphy'
All the single folks on Tinder, who have been experiencing hiccups in sending that first text message to your match, there's now a GIF to help you break the ice. The dating app that recently celebrated its 100 millionth download, has released a major update that allows you to dig into your library of 'Giphy' and find a GIF for almost every possible situation. “We're tapping into the hugely popular trend of GIFs, and allowing users to interact with potential dates in a more nuanced and compelling way than with verbal language alone,” says Sean Rad, CEO at Tinder. Borrowing elements from other social networks, Rad says they have also introduced the 'like' button in messages, larger emojis and the option to upload larger profile photos straight from your camera roll. So, get read to flirt 2016 style.

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