Mumbai Diary: Wednesday whispers

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

The beat of the legendary drummer
There was a nip in the air on Monday night in Vile Parle East, where around 3,000 people had gathered at the Parle Tilak Vidyalaya ground to listen to tabla maestro Zakir Hussain.

Tabla wizard Zakir Hussain is one with the music he creates. Pics/Sachin Kalbag
Tabla wizard Zakir Hussain is one with the music he creates. Pics/Sachin Kalbag

They did not mind, though. Zakir’s performance was to be the grand finale to the hugely successful classical music festival, Hridayesh, that has been organised in this middle-class Marathi stronghold for the last 25 years.

This year’s line-up was arguably one of the best ever Pandits Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute), Vishwamohan Bhatt (mohan veena), Shivkumar Sharma (santoor), Bhawani Shankar (pakhawaj), Jaytirth Mevundi (vocals), Niladri Kumar (sitar), and Ulhas Kashalkar (vocals), along with Ustads Rashid Khan (vocals) and Zakir Hussain (although he categorically stressed he does not want to be referred to by the epithet).

Then there were the four divas of Hindustani classical Pandita Kishori Amonkar, Gauri Pathare, Begum Parveen Sultana and the incredibly talented Kaushiki Chakraborty.

Every session of the four-day festival touched new heights of excellence (except Amonkar’s which, sadly, left listeners disappointed), and it was Zakir whose mastery at the tabla provided the perfect end to a great celebration of India’s classical music heritage.

For two hours, he kept the audience enthralled. There were goosebumps, and there were tears, and some young musicians who were invited on stage to sit next to him received a masterclass. In the audience were Zakir’s younger brother and the percussionist extraordinaire Taufiq Qureshi and the music producer and drummer Ranjit Barot, among others.

Chakraborty, whose performance also received a standing ovation, told listeners she wanted to end her recital early so that she could sit in the audience to watch Zakir Hussain perform. And he did not disappoint her, or the 3,000 other people who had gathered. For them, it was a night they are not going to forget in a hurry.

Of kites and caution
When it comes to kites and the city, it is better to be safe than sorry or singed, to be precise. The Tata Power company has a few tips for high fliers who will take their kites to the skies for Makar Sankranti. The company has these tips regarding kites and power lines.

>> Be aware of your surroundings.
>> Always use extreme caution when flying kites. It is advisable to wear gloves when flying kites.
>> If your kite gets stuck in a power line, immediately let go of the kite and move away. Do not handle the kite or touch the line. Call your local utility company and secure the area to make sure nobody else gets hurt or killed by the kite.
>> Never use metallic flying line.
Another aspect of kite-flying is the damage, injury and death caused to birds by reckless kite-wielders. So, this Sankranti, have fun but stay safe and take care!

Top cop Rakesh Maria has a chat with the rehearsing police band at Marine Drive. Pic/Shashank Rao
Top cop Rakesh Maria has a chat with the rehearsing police band at Marine Drive. Pic/Shashank Rao

Buyer, beware and be aware
It is the season of sales, both in real life and virtual (that is, online). And the resultant buying frenzy often leads the customer to feel let down in terms of quality or service. This is when the Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI) comes into the picture, helping aggrieved buyers seek redressal.

Those interested in getting a grievance settled can register for the CGSI’s free Consumer Grievance Redressal Camp which will be held on Sunday at Bhandup, at which professionals and representatives of various industries and trades will address customer grievances.

Consumers have to register their complaints on the CGSI toll-free helpline, 1800 222262, before January 15.

Consumers can email, or SMS 9773336400 with their name, area and name of the company involved. The camp will be held at the Uttar Bharati School Hall, Dina Bama Patil Estate, near Geeta Hall, Station Road, Bhandup (West), from 10am to 1pm on January 18.

Misleading advertisements are also part of the CGSI’s ambit, and a discussion on consumer awareness about e-commerce and misleading advertisements was held in the city recently.

Dr MS Kamath, hon secretary of CGSI, said that there should be a regulatory agency to control and restrict misleading ads such as those for fairness creams which claim to guarantee job success, undergarments that promise superpowers, and so on.

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