Mumbai Diary: Thursday theme

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

Diva power
A mid-week musical tribute to the Delhi rape victim in one of the city’s swish lounges witnessed a crowd that got more than their money’s worth, as they were treated to a heady performance by the talented all-woman band, Indiva. Comprising of Merlin D’Souza, Hamsika Iyer, Vivienne Pocha and Shruti Bhave, it made for a refreshing change to hear these multi-instrumentalists live, in this era of instant music and whatnot.

The proceeds from the event went towards NGO, The Zonta Club that works to support women and girl children. The four-member band showcased their talent with multiple instruments and in several languages Kannada, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Konkani…we lost count after a point.

An artist created a canvas while the band played, and this was was auctioned later along with a saree donated by designer Amy Billimoria, with the proceeds going to the same NGO. The high-energy evening ended with a trippy cover of the Portuguese hit, Magalenha. As the crowd called for an encore, we heard D’Souza’s son, Rhys arguably Mumbai’s best saxophonist shout out, “One more!”

Look before you leap!
Taking the local train is nothing short of contact sport, when you are braving the rush hour. If you want a seat, you had better be agile when getting in so that you reach the coveted spot before anyone else. And if you want a window seat, you had better be a circus performer!

But you have to watch your step
But you have to watch your step

Commuters taking fast trains in the evening from the city to the northern parts are familiar with the routine of waiting well ahead on the platform for the train to pull in, running alongside the door of their choice, and timing their leap into the compartment to get in while the train is still running. By the time the train slows down and comes to a halt, the seats are all gone and even the “good” standing places are few.

Men in particular are adept at early leaps; you will not find as many women so agile (and, we have to say, stout of heart and limb). But a scene that often plays out on the Central Railway at Dadar shows that sometimes, the guys can be a little too agile. This happens specially with 15-car trains, which still tend to confuse commuters on the platform.

When the train reaches Dadar men start tumbling in only to find that they have piled into the women’s first-class compartment, instead of the adjacent men’s. Accompanied by cries of “Ladies hai, ladies hai!” they try to leap off but this is easier said than done, as the platform is chock-a-block with people. And they end up facing the onslaught of women commuters rushing in, as they try to escape. It is, quite literally, a running joke.

Understanding mental health
A mental health disorder is probably the real unseen disease, as there is no visible evidence of it as such. Only the patient knows what he or she is experiencing. One such person who has been through clinical depression, Gayatri Ramprasad, is sharing her experiences in a book, Shadows in the Sun, published by Random House.

Ramprasad, who is now based in the US, has devoted her energies towards destigmatising mental health through her organisation Asha International, and her book has been translated into Marathi as Prakashatlya Savalya. Ramprasad and her husband will be speaking at a gathering on Friday, December 19, at 6pm at Namdevwadi Hall, near New English School, off Ram Maruti Road, Naupada, Thane (West).

Mental health consultant Dr Anand Nadkarni and clinical psychologist Dr Anuradha Sovani will anchor the interaction, and Dr Nadkarni will read excerpts from the book. The event is open to all, and the Marathi title will be available at a concessional price, says a release from the Institute of Psychological Health, which is organising the event.

Signs of the times?
When the going’s good, they are held aloft, strung up across busy roads and obscuring signals at times.

Once a glorious banner, this poster now serves as a tablecloth. Pic/Atul Kamble
Once a glorious banner, this poster now serves as a tablecloth. Pic/Atul Kamble

But when fortunes fade, political banners serve a myriad of purposes, either as a roof over a makeshift home, a bedsheet or even a coverlet for streetside snoozers, or, as in this case, a natty tablecloth for a fruit juice vendor, in which Congress leaders Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are draped neatly and upside down. As in Shelley’s poem Ozymandias, one might say, “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”

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