Mumbai Diary: Wednesday whispers

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

Saving the little ones
Yesterday, on the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse, India’s first online portal which provides comprehensive information on Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) was launched. The portal,, provides detailed information on various CSA-related issues.

Juhi Chawla and Nagesh Kukunoor show their support for the cause. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Juhi Chawla and Nagesh Kukunoor show their support for the cause. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The portal was inaugurated by Vinod Tawde, Minister of School and Higher Education and Cultural Affairs, actress Juhi Chawla and filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor. Aarambh is a joint initiative of Mumbai-based NGO Prerana and Hong Kong-based ADM Capital Foundation. The inauguration was followed by a discussion on ‘Beyond Breaking the Silence Next Steps in Our Fight Against CSA’.

The web portal features curated resources on CSA targeting eight specific groups- parents, teachers, reporters, lawyers, doctors, police, NGOs and academicians. It also has a directory of some of the national and international organisations working on the issue as well as general information on the subject of sexuality and abuse, and a page dedicated to online safety of children.

Clap of shame
Television can make a difference. In case you think we are talking through our hats, we saw an instance of this on a local train on the Central Railway the other day. An ongoing TV campaign by the government says that shaming those who litter by applauding them in public might work better than chastising them.

The result of wanton littering, an ugly sight. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar
The result of wanton littering, an ugly sight. Pic/Shrikant Khuperkar

After all, cleanliness hasn’t really been India’s let alone an overcrowded city like Mumbai’s forte. On the train, a man who was travelling with his family crushed an empty water bottle and casually slipped it though the window of the running train. Three college students who were standing in the aisle applauded him, clapping together in sync.

This left the passenger embarrassed while his wife and kids took time to gauge what was going on. Not a word was exchanged between any of the involved parties. It was as if time stood still for a while, allowing the clapping to take over. The whole incident lasted less than a minute but it was enough to send out the message. Not bad at all.

Letting it out
The places with the dirtiest toilets are railway stations, a survey on the “State of the Indian Loo” has found. On World Toilet Day today, we wish clean, working toilets become a basic amenity for all. The NGO Habitat for Humanity is taking a step in this direction with its “Sensitise to Sanitise” campaign which is mobilising corporate support for building 1,00,000 sanitation units across India by 2015.

Shell company
Finding seashells at the beach is practically impossible these days, at least on the city’s beaches. But on other beaches in the state you are bound to find pretty shells, which are hard to resist. And once you get home with your sandy booty it’s even harder to figure out what to do with it.

Well, you may find inspiration at an ongoing exhibition by Sangli-based artist Ravindra Shinde, at the Artists’ Centre Art Gallery in Ador House, Kala Ghoda. The exhibition features acrylics on canvas and seashell sculptures.

You’ll find seascapes and fishing boats among the paintings, and the sculptures include some intricately-made Ganpati idols, cattle, camels and other fauna. The exhibition is on from 11am to 7pm till November 23.

Kidney ‘failure’ in this ad
There are television commercials which make you sit up and take notice because they are so good. There are those which are so forgettable that you’d rather change the channel. And then there are ads which send out a very wrong message. One such is a recent TVC, part of a campaign for a travel company’s website.

It shows a man about to enter the house of the family with whom he is going to stay. He overhears a woman’s voice saying, “He stays with us every time he comes to this city. What’s the harm in asking him to donate a kidney? Everyone has two.” The man is then shown fleeing in alarm, and the ad’s message is: “Don’t take on obligations, choose our discounted hotel rates instead.”

This is just wrong, because it likens kidney donation to an unwanted obligation, which it is certainly not. A kidney donation can save a life, and does no harm to a donor who has two healthy kidneys. Not just kidneys, the ad is also damaging to the concept of organ donation as a whole. It is probably supposed to be funny, but it’s no laughing matter.

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