Mumbai Diary: Thursday theme

Nov 20, 2014, 08:46 IST | Contributed by: Hemal Ashar, Shakti Shetty, Vidya Heble

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

Equality above all
The hustle-bustle at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) was broken by an event yesterday, International Men’s Day. Commuters paused during the daily whirl to stop and see what Vaastav Foundation, an NGO for men’s rights, had to say. Vaastav is actually an umbrella body of men’s rights organisations.

Men’s Day amidst the hustle and bustle at CST. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Men’s Day amidst the hustle and bustle at CST. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The founder, Amit Deshpande, an instrumentation engineer from Dombivili, had acknowledged that men’s day lacks the visibility of women’s day but it is slowly making its way onto the radar of the city. What better way to get attention and create awareness than at the nerve centre of this city, a railway station, and the CST of all the places. The men pushed for gender-neutral laws, claiming that certain laws in this country were skewed towards women.

They attracted curious onlookers and a lot of men were seen asking them questions about the foundation and the work. They actually had some interested women too, looking at the posters. One may not agree with everything given that in India, it is traditionally a patriarchal society, but there’s no harm done if one looks at another side of a story.

Tiny homes, grand visions
Ever wonder how the not-so-privileged families manage in an 8x8ft room? These are homes which include the kitchen as well as the bathroom, with no question of a bedroom. Everybody in the household sleeps on the floor. And there’s no dearth of similar style for lack of a more suitable word of accommodation in Mumbai.

It’s Universal Children’s Day today but it’s no different for these kids using the streetlamp to complete homework while the parents slog it out indoors. Pic/Shakti Shetty
It’s Universal Children’s Day today but it’s no different for these kids using the streetlamp to complete homework while the parents slog it out indoors. Pic/Shakti Shetty

Of course, it’s a question of choice, whether to stay and fight for space in the city or go back to where one hails from. But still, everybody has a relatable story to share. Like the family in the picture. Here, the husband runs a laundry service with considerable help from his housekeeping wife while his two sons attend a nearby school.

They all live in a room that’s barely 64 sq ft in area. But the man of the family hopes for better days as he is ensuring his kids get what he or his spouse couldn’t education.

Let budding lives bloom
Short films can have lasting impact. We hope that is the case with After My Garden Grows, a 10-minute film by Megan Mylan, which is being shown at private screenings in the city.

A still from Megan Mylan’s film After My Garden Grows
A still from Megan Mylan’s film After My Garden Grows

It is about Monika Barman, one of 40,000 girls participating in a programme to empower adolescent girls launched by the West Bengal government along with a non-profit organisation.

The programme teaches the girls how to utilise small plots of land to improve their family’s nutrition, help them stay in school, and reduce their vulnerability to child marriage.

Monika grows vegetables, and the seeds of her independence, in her rooftop garden. Mylan, an Oscar winner, is also the director of acclaimed documentaries Smile Pinki and Lost Boys of Sudan.

It’s nice that private screenings of After My Garden Grows are being held Aamir Khan organised one on Children’s Day, November 14, and Mahindra & Mahindra, who run the Nanhi Kali programme for girl child education, are co-hosting a screening today.

But Monika’s story is one that must reach wider audiences, and we hope the film is picked up for screening at mainstream venues too.

Veteran wheels take to the road
Mumbai's top rally veterans will be behind the wheel on Sunday, November 29 at the Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) Veterans Rally. There will be 20 competitors in the fray.

There is also a rivalry on the cards as veteran rallyist Sunil Shanbhag is all set to challenge Jagdish Thackersey and Homi Commissariat at the event.

This will be the first time in the history of motor sports that a rally is being held for veteran drivers. The rally is set to be a 300-km run from Mumbai to Mahableshwar.

So, let’s see if the old boys still have it in them to pick up the speed, get into top gear and wing it to Mahableshwar or Strawberry Country as it is called. Rally Ho!

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