NCC cadets practise for Republic Day parade at Oval Maidan.
It's raining fish, floating cars, paper boats and trees on a cluster of buildings that dot Natwar Parekh Colony in Govandi. We're not day-dreaming. Look at this building out on the right, awash with floating visuals on a canvas of blue. It's not a mural, but the colourful imagination of children from the neighbourhood. These young minds, led by artist Jerry Antony, have created the stop-motion animation installation as part of the upcoming Govandi Arts Festival. Antony is among the three artists in residence working with Govandi dwellers to execute site-specific and contextual art. Antony shared that he introduced people in the area to animation through workshops, which were aimed at bringing out stories of the participants. "These stories were then consolidated along with some interviews and photo documentation of the space to create a mix-media narrative reflecting the spirit of the space," he told us.
Films, he added, make for a wonderful storytelling medium with the ability to connect to the viewers and take them through a journey independent of their personal limitations. "Animation takes this form of storytelling forward. I wanted this project to not just be my take on the experiences within the community, but rather co-create a narrative along with the people," he shared.
A chance to experience the Warli way of life in Mumbai is one that shouldn't be missed. And Nazareth Foundation's ongoing #TribalTadkaWomenOfAarey entrepreneurship programme is helping facilitate this. With their Aarey Village walkabout, Warli breakfast and pop-up flea market experience on January 26, the idea is to create awareness and offer opportunities to tribal women living in the forest. Founder Cassandra Nazareth told this diarist that the event provides these women a source of earning as well as a chance to engage with fellow Mumbaikars. "They were cut off from urban Mumbai despite living in the middle of a city. Today, after several years of working on their skills and socialising with others, they can hold their own, and speak with confidence." In the end, making a change is all that matters.
Since 2011, the Chembur Festival has brought the neighbourhood together to take pride in a sense of belongingness. Now, we hear that the festival is turning 10 this year. It is slated to kick off on February 3 with a sports week, followed by a cultural week. Sandesh Mahajan, a part of the team, said, "It is an initiative of the Chembur Citizens Welfare Association. Our events are open to all. There are sports activities for senior citizens, football for women, a kids' drawing contest, food stalls, perfor-mances and more. We want Chemburites to enjoy and feel the sense of community."
From cutesy cupcakes to engaging games, and hand-painted T-shirts to home-made cheesecakes, the students of Wilson College put forward their entrepreneurial best at OlÃ© Bazaar Day last Saturday. Professor Dr Michelle Philip shared that the initiative was led by their incubation cell. "We wanted the students to get a taste of what it takes to set up stalls and express their entrepreneurial skills. They showcased tote bags, stickers, food and all kinds of things made by students," she added.
For kids from the '90s, playing board games with friends over pizzas and milkshakes was the ultimate chill pill. And Vile Parle-based cafÃ© Chai & Games turned this into a reality when it opened doors in 2018. "There was a big gap in the activity sector in terms of a space where people could play indoor games in a friendly atmosphere. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we had to shut for a year. The mall in which our cafÃ© was located also experienced a fire in 2021, so our place couldn't open for another year," founder Ronak Chitalia told this diarist. Thanks to the support of his loyalist board-gamers, Chitalia reworked the plan and has now opened a new space on SV Road, opposite the Pawan Hans gate. Called the Bombay Board Game Club, it will not just offer a plethora of unique board games like Railroad Tycoon, Chai Garam and Azul, among others, but also serve pastas, pizzas, garlic breads, corn bhel and more, dished out by an Italian kitchen that they have tied up with. He added, "We are also hosting stand-up comedy. We have added unique and rare games like Wingspan - one of the first copies in India. People from far-off suburbs like Thane and Dombivali come to play these games as they won't find it elsewhere."