Mumbai Diary: Sunday shorts

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

Makers need a home
The city got an interesting innovation space some time ago, but like all good things in Mumbai, this one comes to an end.

Maker’s Asylum, a platform for those interested in toying with electronics and building tools, has time only till August 31 to look for new turf to set up base after the Lower Parel school it runs out of decided they want them out.

Led by founder Vaibhav Chabbra (in pic), the DIY enthusiasts are looking to raise funds to rent out a new space that will support a community of 140 members and 6,000 social media supporters.

“We have gathered $9,455 through crowdfunding, but need an additional $25,000 to be self-sustainable,” says the 25-year-old who is looking for a 5,000 sq ft space around Andheri. Since November 2013, Makers have created a range of products from shelves, chairs, laser-cutting devices to smart pens.

“We are also building a home automation mechanism that helps you control your switches using a smart phone,” he adds. A bigger space, Chabbra says, will help create an ecosystem for hardware start-ups and alternate learning. While cash deposits can be made on their page at https://www.indiegogo.com, the Makers will also accept help with moving office.

BMC hit for a six
Our in-house book scavenger discovered a gem on the streets near Azad Maidan. His ‘catch’ was a book titled, Six Appeal written by Kersi Meher-Homji, a Parsi gent living in Sydney and occasional contributor to this newspaper. The paperback published in 1996 holds, in many ways, all you want to know about sixers in the world of cricket.

Sydney-based Indian cricket historian Kersi Meher-Homji with one of several books he has written
Sydney-based Indian cricket historian Kersi Meher-Homji with one of several books he has written

On page 25, there is mention of Dossu Bulsara, who, while playing a club match at Azad Maidan in 1917, was hit for a six by Faram Pavri. Meher-Homji writes that the six cleared the vast expanse of the Maidan and hit the wall of the BMC headquarters near VT.

Pavri boasted that he wouldn’t have been able to go the distance had a bowler of his ‘quality’ not offered him room to free his arms. The following day, according to the author, he got peons from the municipal building to measure the distance. Sorry, the distance is unknown and so is the pitch on which the match was played, but it must have been some hit by Pavri.

Back to the Vedas
Indian mythology has been the flavour of the publishing industry for a while. Now, Delhi-based architect Daksh Bharadwaj, who has designed Le Meridian in the capital and the Nau-Sena Bhawan-ii Office Complex for D.R.D.O, is working on a two-volume book on the Vedas.

Delhi-based architect Daksh Bharadwaj
Delhi-based architect Daksh Bharadwaj

His version will offer a translation of the original and alternate interpretations of Vedic hymns, which he thinks may ruffle feathers among orthodox circles. “Every word in the Vedas has various meanings. Each depends on the subject of the Vedic mantra in question,” explains Bharadwaj, adding that vedic language is vast and not bound by grammar.

It was his father Dr Satyakant Bharadwaj, who had begun the project but passed away in 2000. “He invested 60 years of his life to the book,” says the 75- year-old, who hopes to launch the volumes in India, America and Russia by the end of the year.

Dehydrating the bhindi
We've got to admit that we can’t do without ghar ka khana, even if it means we eat like astronauts. Pankti Chheda and her mother Rita (in pic) cater to this craving with their service, Moving Meals: Heat to Eat.

The pair dehydrate home-cooked dishes, minus preservatives, they say, that can be popped into a microwave and eaten. Since no water is used, Pankti says the food remains as is for up to six months.

And like most entrepreneurship ideas, this one arose from personal experience when she craved mommy’s cooking at Manchester Business School. Choose from bhindi, dhansak, pav bhaji, pasta and Mexican rice —
all dehydrated.

The coast cries out
“Everybody thinks of the coastal road as this green belt where you will go cycling,” says photographer-filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala. “It’s anything but that.”

Sooni Taraporevala
Sooni Taraporevala

A couple of weeks ago, Taraporevala attended a session to discuss the plan to link Mumbai’s southern most tip with the north-western suburbs, by veteran journalist Daryl D’Monte for media students at Sophia Polytechnic.

“I got home and was talking about it to my kids. My daughter, Iyanah, was so riled up, she decided to start an online petition against the proposal.” Iyanah Bativala, a Std XII student at Bombay International School, has spread the word among friends and those of her parents.

The petition, which urges Mumbaikars to step forward and save the city, its coastline and already sparse mangrove cover (instead of walking by the sea, we will walk on reclaimed land, looking out onto the highway, she says), has attracted support from Teesta Setalvad, Sumaira Abdulali, Reena Kallat and Zarina Screwvala.

But, mother and daughter say a mere 600 signatures aren’t enough. “We need lakhs to make a difference, and the deadline of August 27 is fast approaching,” adds Iyanah, 18. So, after (hopefully) having saved Internet freedom, dear Mumbaikars, maybe it’s time to save Mumbai?

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